WORDS BY THOMAS FREEMAN
Melbourne alt-rock band Kingswood have returned with an unexpected brand-new album, ‘Reveries’. This is follow-up to their third album ‘Juveniles’, an enjoyable LP that the band dropped back in March, which was unfortunately the same time the Covid-19 pandemic began, resulting in an album that, despite being great, flew under the radar for a lot of music lovers and had a cancelled tour which didn’t get to promote the release. Being in lockdown however, Kingswood decided to take the opportunity to write and record a companion piece, filled with a variety of Americana-styled rock, charming blues, and piano driven versions of the songs from ‘Juveniles’.
I liked the intimate feeling on the LP, and a lot of it recaptures the sounds and styles from their 2017 album ‘After Hours, Close to Dawn’, an album that is a personal favourite of mine. ‘Reveries’ takes the prestigious instrumentals and grand tone from tracks like ‘Looking for Love’ and the stylistic choices and lyrics in ‘Big City’ to make something that reminds the listener of why they like Kingswood, whilst also offering the audience something different. Another great way to describe it is to think back to when The Amity Affliction covered Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’, where even though the song was the same, the tone was completely different and made for a vastly different meaning behind the track.
‘Heart Carousel’ makes for a pretty solid opening track, where the band do a great job at transforming their song ‘You Make it So Easy’. It sets the tone of the album nicely, with a nice acoustic riff leading the instrumentals, the brush-stroke drums keeping a nice beat, and the strings added in there for some extra substance. I like the layers to the production, and the harmonies in the vocals are pretty sweet too. There are some big ‘country town hall shindig’ vibes across this track, and the rest of the album, and
‘Infinite Tenderness’ is probably my favourite song of the album. With big echoing vocals and a grand piano opening up the track, it feels like one of the most personal songs here, especially once the strings kick in. It’s genuinely amazing to hear Kingswood go in the complete other direction and play music like this, but also really do a fantastic job of it too.
There are a few other songs on ‘Reveries’ that have those big piano sounds to them also, like ‘Monroe’, where the lead singer is talking about his feelings for a girl, comparing her style to Marilyn Monroe. The swelling strings on this song sound really great, which resonated really well with the classic-sounding guitars on their track ‘Marilyn’.
‘Tell Me You Love Me’ was another song that really stood out for me, with its effective use of strings, especially with the lead violin driving the song. Lyrically, I thought it was quite nice too, combined with the acoustic guitar backing it up, making for a really sweet-sounding song on the album, as well as another of the more personal songs from ‘Reveries’
The prominent instrumentals in ‘Remember’ are also super effective in driving the song, with the strings feeling like something from a Hans Zimmer score. They really do an excellent job at reinventing the ‘Juveniles’ track ‘Say You Remember’, which was one of my favourites off that album, with this new version translating a lot of the best bits really well into the different style, making for another of my favourites off the new LP.
‘Kite in a Storm’ makes for one of the smoothest and most swing-filled tracks off the new LP. The opening piano reminded me of a less chaotic version of Elton John’s ‘Honky Cat’, a rhythm that reminded me of Polish Club’s ‘2 Scared’, and the brush-stroke drums make for a really groovy beat that is guaranteed to get the listeners foot tapping, and one that is reminiscent of what Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would have danced to back in the day. It feels like one of the more unique songs on the album with the swing style, but lyrically it’s also one of the more poetic songs, with Kingswood really showing just how versatile they are as a band.
The closing track ‘Take Me Off Your Birthday List’ ends the album on another really personal sounding piano ballad. The huge echoing vocals and piano have such a grand scale to them, but they also have a really creative sound to them, as it feels like they recorded it a distance from where the vocals and keys were being played, capturing the echoes and reverb of an empty room. It gives the listener a big feeling of isolation with the track, which aligns so perfectly with the lyrics.
It’s almost fortunate that Covid-19 happened, or else Kingswood might not have ever made ‘Reveries’, making an album that really made me fully appreciate ‘Juveniles’ even more, but also really showcases just how talented this band is. With a unique switch in style for the band, strong writing and great instrumentals, it’s one that fans of Kingswood definitely shouldn’t miss.
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