Someone much cleverer than me once said “quality breeds confidence”, well that’s certainly the case with Stone Kings latest offering. ‘Reset’ is a six track EP (you could almost call that a mini-album) that positively screams ‘confidence’ as the music held within is a large step forward from their self-titled debut album. That’s not to say that their first efforts were all that shabby, far from it but the quality song writing on display in ‘Reset’ moves things on to another level.
The intro to the title track begins with a simple guitar hook that builds into a boisterous foot-stomper. You can hear elements of the bands influences peppered throughout as you’re taken on a journey that almost name checks the likes of ‘Alice In Chains’, ‘Monster Magnet’ and ‘Soundgarden’. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Stone Kings have done their heroes justice.
‘The Truth Inside’ is track number two and struts in like a drunken leprechaun dancing a jig. The verse keeps the pace before calming down as if to announce something quite profound for the chorus. No name checks here, this is pure Stone Kings.
While every song on the EP is of a calibre that would make you think these guys have been writing together forever, track three, ‘Beneath My Skin’ is the one that most people remember from the first listen. A cowbell accompanies the sleazy guitar intro and instantly makes me grin from ear to ear, not enough bands utilize the cowbell these days but here it’s done to perfection. As the song progresses into the chorus it instantly sounds familiar but there’s no plagiarism here just great song writing.
‘Let If Flow’ takes you off-guard with a progressive intro more akin to ‘Orange Goblin’, this fourth track delves into the realms of Stoner Rock with more vigour than any other on the EP. From a staggered guitar hook the guitars then trade licks during the verse, all you need to do is sit back and take it all in.
‘Hair Of The Dog’ begins with jangly guitars that sound so unhinged they almost threaten to turn all schizoid on your ass. This they do indeed as the chorus kicks in the attitude turns into a teeth-baring snarl. This Jekyll and Hyde emotion flows throughout the song and is only punctured by a creamy guitar solo around the three-quarters mark.
A pounding of the toms announces the start of the final track ‘Weightless’. When the vocals kick in I can’t help but be reminded of Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull such is the ad lib style. By the third listen this thought fails to pass me by and makes me chuckle. I love it when music touches you in ways you never expect and moving me in such a way was unexpected but definitely not unwelcome.
Tantamount to the strength of this EP is the buzz it’s caused around TBFM staff; I for one have not been able to put it down. If you’re into Alice In Chains, Monster Magnet or Soundgarden then Stone Kings are a band you must check out. Yet while it’s human nature to categorize and associate something new with what’s already out there, Stone Kings are no mere parody of their idols. Hell no! They’re a fully-fledged tribute to Hard Rock in general and I’m very much looking forward to hearing what these hard rockers from Kent come up with next.
02 The Truth Inside
03 Beneath My Skin
04 Let It Flow
05 Hair Of The Dog
Stone Kings are:
Gregg Stageman – Vocals
Gary McCarthy – Guitar
Dom Holloway – Guitar
Dan Reene – Bass
Gav Ranz – Drums