5 Jul 2020
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Chris and the Kingsmen - Album Review: Regular Joe

19 Nov 2019 // A review by Mike Alexander

It’s been a while coming but Chris Ward could well be New Zealand’s answer Jimmy Barnes – a genuine working class hero. His debut album is ostensibly a solo record but not without the blood, sweat and tears of the Kingsmen, a band of merry men including Chris Close, David Cloughley, Frankie Daly and Ben Crosson, who co-wrote three of the tracks, boosted by more merry men and women, Aaron Boot, Josh Saville, Ben Lill, producer TeMatera Smith and backing vocalists Jodi Wareing, Tumanako Timirau, Lucy Hiku and Lissel and Magau Stewart.

Right from the get-go on his debut album, Regular Joe, the Christchurch based singer lays his cards on the table with a classic rock sound that flexes its muscles with the dynamics of a Led Zeppelin with a wailing siren in the background that’s straight out of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. A short and sharp burst of guitar stabs through the questing and questioning Run And Hide, with Ward riding a vocal line that’s pure fire in the belly. 

Star is notable for the introduction of sax and more guitar aerodynamics, while Waiting On A Rainy Day zig zags around a relentless rhythm and some squalling guitar.

The tempo drops from hop scotch on speed to Lost, an initially slow paced ballad, that grinds its way through a tortured lyric "heal me, I need to feel safe", to an intense climax and soaring vocal wail and banked guitars that, fall away and find resolution in a soft bass line.

An almost church-like keyboard and piano steer Take Control, which snakes along with muted trumpet, and comes across as one of the more accusatory tracks on the album but if Ward has a sermon to preach it’s delivered more as a reality check than with any real venom. Still, there’s fire in the belly and if we get burned it often means there are lessons to be learned, which the lyric "sometimes we’re strange because we change" on The Change suggests.

It’s a soul searching vocal, with a Springsteenish-feel to it that bleeds into the acoustically-driven first single Baby Blue, an odd change of pace until it bursts alive into a sprawling rocker, while the tempo reaches a happy medium with Cold Solitude even if it’s slightly antithetical to the state of resignation the song suggests. Likewise, Me Again almost tangos to a reflective duet featuring the stunning Lissel Stewart, who announces her vocal presence in much the same way as Annie Crummer did on the Netherworld Dancing Toys’ classic For Today.

Worn The Battle is brass tinged and fringed before Ward’s gritty vocal takes centre stage again on the album’s closer The Same. It’s a no-frills, down to earth affirmation about looking forward and leaving the past behind. In many ways, it’s the perfect mirror in which to view Regular Joe. It has musical echoes of the past while being forward thinking in its musical arrangements.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Chris and the Kingsmen

Chris and the Kingsmen is the brainchild of Chris Ward is a Christchurch based singer/songwriter and producer. His music style is influenced by a wide variety of artists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ben Harper, Sublime and Bruce Springsteen to mention a few.

When Chris was going through the process of building his own studio, he was put in contact with producer TeMatera Smith (Troy Kingi, Tony Durant, Seventy One Sunset, Symphony of Screams etc.), who agreed to come to Christchurch and provide advice. During conversation Chris mentioned he had a small recording project of a few songs, and after he had heard the strength of the demos, TeMatera offered his services as producer. “I was surprised and taken aback by the depth and quality of this hitherto unknown songwriter” says Smith, “and felt compelled to be a part of his journey to produce a wonderful album… and that it is. A work of which I am very proud”. It was decided that twelve numbers would be recorded over two sessions and the resulting album Regular Joe includes the very first song Chris ever wrote, as well as one which was only written between sessions.

The first single Baby Blue was co written by Chris and longtime friend and collaborator Ben Crosson. "It's a simple song really. We got together and wrote it to try and capture the moment when your eyes lock with someone who completely mesmerizes you".

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Chris and the Kingsmen

Releases

There are no releases to display for Chris and the Kingsmen.

Other Reviews By Mike Alexander

Compilation Review: Home Alone: Winter 2020
02 Jul 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Wellington boutique label Home Alone has developed an exceptional roster of artists since it announced itself to the world in 2006. And while the creative backbone of the label has always been the triumvirate of Timothy Blackman, who actually launched the label in Dunedin with his debut EP, Lake South and French For Rabbits' Brooke Singer, it has expanded its repertoire and reach with such as internationalists Helena Massey and Shenondoah Davis.
Read More...
Sunny Ray - Album Review: Sentient Compass
16 Jun 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The transformation in Sunny Ray has always seemed inevitable since she made her debut in 2010 with the delightfully visionary EP Mindlessness. Here was a voice that spoke to us of the journey of the soul and the process of its awakening.
Read More...
Ignatia : Rising - Single Review: You Found Me Too
03 Jun 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The retooled Ignatia : Rising continue to surprise with their latest release - a quiet stunner, which is perhaps a reflection of these times when we have all been forced to look deep within ourselves. After three singles that made it almost impossible to pigeon-hole their style or swagger, You Found Me Too is an acoustic ballad "an ode to unconditional love".
Read More...
Levi Patel - Album Review: A Shifting Lightness
19 Mar 2020 // by Mike Alexander
There is a place within all of us where our darkness gives way to the light and our sorrows become our rejoicing. It is elusive but wearies not as we journey through life with all of its disappointments.
Read More...
Jackie Bristow - Single Review: Blue Moon Rising
11 Feb 2020 // by Mike Alexander
For those who have followed the career of Stateside-based, but born and bred in New Zealand, songwriter Jackie Bristow there's an unintentional (as far as I am aware) poignancy about the release of her latest single Blue Moon Rising. It signals a slight wind shift, a change in musical direction, bought about by the musical influences she's been surrounded by since moving from Austin, Texas, to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2017.
Read More...
Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie - Album Review: Roto
20 Jan 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Technology without artifice is a rarity in music nowadays – any 'nerd' with an understanding of the various software programmes available for composing music can create something out of nothing without being compelled by an inner muse. Roto, by Tom Ludvigson and Trevor Reekie, is an exception to such mundaneness.
Read More...
Tattletale Saints - Album Review: Under The Dogwoods
20 Jan 2020 // by Mike Alexander
There has always been a simple charm to Tattletale Saints ever since they announced themselves with the release of their debut album How Red Is The Blood in 2013. That album deservedly took out a Tui for best Folk Album at the New Zealand Music Awards the following year and while the duo of Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan no longer call New Zealand home – they are based in Nashville, Tennessee – their OE has certainly broadened their musical horizons and palette.
Read More...
EP Review: Your Indigo
17 Dec 2019 // by Mike Alexander
What a great surprise and start to a new decade. Your Indigo has all the makings of a 'super group' with three very distinctive talents in their own right – 'electric' electro producer Joshua Holmes and songwriting maidens (they do bear bouquets  in their hair on the video to Glass Cloud),  Amiria Grenell (Autumn and Three Feathers) and Bryony Matthews (Little Queen).
Read More...
View All Articles By Mike Alexander

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • SAVAGE LOVE (LAXED - SIREN BEAT)
    Jawsh 685 x Jason DeRulo
  • ROCKSTAR
    DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch
  • GO CRAZY
    Chris Brown And Young Thug
  • ROSES (IMANBEK REMIX)
    SAINt JHN
  • IN THE AIR
    L.A.B.
  • BLINDING LIGHTS
    The Weeknd
  • STUCK WITH U
    Ariana Grande And Justin Bieber
  • WHAT'S POPPIN'
    Jack Harlow
  • ROVER
    S1mba feat. DTG
  • BREAKING ME
    Topic feat. A7S
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem