The opinions expressed in this piece are of a rambling renegade and may not reflect that of normal society. Opinions are, after all, like arseholes; every buggers got one.
I have to admit that it’s not often I get excited about the release of an EP, let alone one from a band unknown to the majority of record buying rockers. “Hold Your Tongue” by Titans & Kings however, is a bit of an exception.
The ‘Titans’ (or Kings?) are four lads hailing from Exeter and London; Lead Guitarist Tor also handles the Lead Vocals while Rhythm Guitarist Spy, Drummer Nick ‘E’ Stixx and Bassist Flash Gordon all share the task of holding the vocal harmonies. Describing themselves quite generically as “In Your Face, Fast Paced Rock n Roll” you’d be forgiven for passing them by as just another run-of-the-mill young rock band but after catching them live you’ll be wondering why they appear so modest. Yes they really are an “In Your Face, Fast Paced Rock n Roll” band but they do it with a class and finesse that so many of their peers lack.
It was their live performances that made me so keen to hear what they could lay down in a decent studio which is why I had been waiting for the preview tracks with such anticipation. When you build something up so much it’s very easy for it to be a disappointment but would this be the case with ‘Hold Your Tongue’?
Track numero uno “Dominique” breaks us in gently, well as gently as Titans & Kings can manage, with meandering drum runs, an overdriven wandering bass line and distorted jangly guitars. With a melancholic undertone it creates a sense of forewarning that a storm is about to follow.
“Guns, Knives and Broken Bones” doesn’t quite manifest as a storm, more a tribute to early 80’s Hard Rock riffsters such as Judas Priest with political angst driven lyrics more akin with The Clash. It’s a no-holds-barred rockathon that manages to unite classic Hard Rock riffs with a New Wave sensibility and would make a killer first single.
The third track “Aeroplane” starts with a slightly over-familiar pop-rock hook sounding like an alliance of mid-90’s era Alternative bands such as Foo Fighters and Weezer. The song continues in the same vein providing the first and only bitter pill of the EP but having said that observed as part of a whole it blends in ostensibly well and becomes more endearing with repeated listening.
Track four “Breakout” is by far and away the most obvious single on the EP. It may draw parallels to “Dookie” era Green Day with the heavy ska/reggae influence that dominates the sound but that would be doing it an injustice. Similarly the chorus could be forgiven for provoking affinity with The Offspring but in truth they are both mute comparables as this is signature Titans & Kings turned up to the max. More music like this in the future would be very much welcomed by this listener indeed.
“Freedom” is the true final track as the sixth is simply a radio edit of ‘Aeroplane’. It begins with a ferocious guitar riff that treads once again into 80’s hard rock territory which combined with the vocal line could be mistaken as being a forgotten ‘Faith No More’ track. There’s a slight whiff of ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ in there too but once again these analogies are simply a way of describing what is effectively Titans & Kings signature sound.
Titans & Kings should be very proud of their debut effort. ‘Hold Your Tongue’ is remarkably well produced with two stand out tracks “Breakout” and “Guns, Knives & Broken Bones”, pretty good going for a debut EP. Yet while the other tracks do not grab you as instantly they are well worth revisiting as you’ll find they grow on you with remarkable rapidity. As a musician myself I find that I am particularly hard to please and have often been ostracised for being too critical to new bands who are still finding their voice. With that in mind my rating of 4/5 is a stirling endorsement of the record Titans & Kings have produced and will hopefully serve as a launchpad for bigger and even better things.
Hold Your Tongue EP
02 Guns, Knives & Broken Bones
06 Aeroplane (Radio Edit)
Titans & Kings are:
Tor – Lead Guitar + Lead Vocals
Spy – Rhythm Guitar + Backing Vocals
Nick “E” Stixx – Drums + Backing Vocals
Flash Gordon – Bass + Backing Vocals