King Tuff - The Other - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

King Tuff - The Other

by Rob Taylor Rating:8 Release Date:2018-04-13
King Tuff - The Other
King Tuff - The Other

Kyle Thomas aka King Tuff on his latest The Other has ditched his flaky garage rock for more ambitious sounds. With hipster friends Mikal Cronin on Sax, Ty Segall on drums and Jenny Lewis on vocals, this outing has the relaxed feel of a gathering of friends preconditioned to leave their egos at the front door. I didn’t like it at first to be honest. I thought it sounded like a polished reproduction of 80s' pop music, burnished ever so slightly so as to deflect any obvious parallel. That was during the week when I had the shits, but on Saturday morning when I had real space to breathe and contemplate, this album started to resonate. Like a favourite CSNY album, the harmonies and easy flow of “The Other” lulled and caressed the senses, and restored calm.

Sometimes it's hard to shelve expectations of the known attributes of an artist and simply accept they have liberty to explore another side of themselves.

From the outset, there's an unexpected serenity to opener The Other; a more expansively realised and beautifully articulated sound with a wider palette of instrumentation than usual for Thomas, and not surprisingly he was assisted on the mix by Shawn Everett who produced War on Drugs. Atmospheric synth, folk inflected guitar and a renewed wonderment in the vocal, no longer shouty and inarticulate, but rather unbuttoned and smooth.

The album evolves to funky dance on 'Raindrop Blue' and transitions impressively into yearning fireside indie on 'Thru the Cracks'. The guitar work is mixed down but explores an emotional range in keeping with lyrics about lost opportunity and unrealised goals. On 'Circuits in the Sand' Thomas manages to meld Moody Blues, and Dylanesque storytelling, in a song impressive for ambition if a little short on cohesion. 'Ultraviolet' starts as Tuareg rhythm and never lets go of that , but the glam vocals and conventional song structure give it a pop feel rather than a jamming one.

The Other is a creeper that will seep insidiously into reviewer's minds when compiling best of lists this year.

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