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Vibrate You Back to the top
King Adora - Vibrate You (Superior Quality)
Oxfam glam from sexually ambiguous Brummie punks. Crumbs…
Scalpel, hatchet, blowtorch, meat-hook. Oh hello! Just checking through the rock critic toolbox here. Not much call for the more delicate instruments at the moment. Not with so many Namby-pambies and neo hippies to be shot in the head and buried in vast pits of quick lime. Oh no.
CHAINSAW! King Adora's agenda is confrontational, sleaze, glam, hysteria, and cheese. Their influences are New York Dolls and Mot the Hoople. Among their peers they count the superbly camp and exhilarating Glitterbug. This makes them superior to, say, Starsailor, Toploader or Alfie. Obviously.
CORKSCREW! Their harsher critics point out that King Adora look like brickies. Duh! That's the whole point! You fools! Ask Eddie Izzard!
BINOCULARS! Live King Adora are amazing - especially if sandwiched (as they usually are) between mumbling tramp bands. Pouting, preening, posing - they're so unfashionably excitable and blatantly sexual that you'd have to be dead from the waist down AND the neck up not to love them.
CLAMP! This is a daft record - the pseudo pub singer crooning interlude in `We Are Heros', for instance. Or the lyrics to `Big Isn't Beautiful' (celebrating anorexia). Or the superbly riotous `Friday Night Explodes' - which might well be about an arrested rent boy enjoying a knee-trembler with a WPC. And how about `Supermuffdiver' for a title, eh? (Titter!)
SUCTION! `Vibrate You' is, alas, an ace-chewn-free zone (apart from the aforementioned `Friday Night Explodes') And without ace-chewns the sleazoid-confrontational'n'cheesily-hysterical wham-bam-thank-you-mam glam project fails to bite. `Suffocate' comes frustratingly close, as, annoyingly, do half a dozen other tracks. But as an aural manifesto which those of us committed to the anti-fauxnaif had could use to smash in the brittle skulls of the acoustic sexless tramps, `Vibrate You' is, frankly, inadequate.
PLASMA! Which of course, is to stretch the brickie-butterfly on a wheel until it disintegrates. The need for bands like King Adora - bands that reject and rage against the current tyranny of dressed-down mumbling, half arsed ming mong anti-rock - to cut the mustard is all consuming. This is a was for the soul of UK `alternative' music. A war that the hippies, the folkies and the horribly deformed mutant offspring of the shoegazing scum are winning hands down. But to send King Adora over the top with a record like this would be tantamount to murder.
POST MORTEM! Oh come on that's a bit hash, isn't it? (6)
Bionic (re-release) Back to the top
It seems no matter what seismic changes the music scene goes through, people will never tire of the sound of power chords. This particular incarnation of 'heavey indie' for people who would never admit to listening to Rawk! could have been recorded at anytime in the last 12 years, encased as it is in that peculiarly timeless and sterile MTV sheen. The hair may be more gravity defying, and the videos better but in spirit we're still fighting off that second wave of grunge. And losing.
Suffocate Back to the top
The first men from Birmingham ever to spell 'glamour', let alone ask for it at a jumble sale in Dudley, King Adora have been a breath of sweaty and curiously vasaline scented air in a musical era otherwise daubed by a Coldplay grey. Sex! Pouting! Dildos! Undersized girls tops! Whatever else Marc Almond Used to do! Marvellous and noble behavior all round, obviously, but 'Suffocate' is the first smudge of an otherwise perfect line of pop mascara. Y'see what you've done here lads is you've basically taken 'Stand Inside Your Love' by The Smashing Pumpkins, right, and you've... well, you've put a different title on it haven't you? Fair play, it's a title that suggests a nice'n'seedy bit of asphyxiation slap'n'throttle, but theres no possible way you could masturbate to this, plauged as you would be by images of Billy Corgan dressed as David Beckham. It's only marginally sexier, in fact, than Darius off Popstars doing Britney. Nurse! Cancel that long lie down!
Smoulder Back to the top
Imagine a toothpaste tube full of fuzzy T-Rex riffsbeing squeesed in the middle by Sid Vicious and spouting rock'n'roll all over the furniture. Their greatest, most catchiest moment so far.
Dan: "The drummings good the rest of its crap."
Matt: "I think it's a good quality tune. Four? Four and a half?"
Robbie G: "It was never going to be a single, but then we get such a great reaction to it at gigs."
Martyn: "It's good that it's getting played on Radio 1 now. We were in a cafe getting breakfast and someone phoned us to say it was on Simon Mayo so we all had to go and listen to it on the car stereo."
Back in the day when the Manic Street Preachers were awake they briefly paraded the slogan "All rock'n'roll is homosexual". In which case King Adora are the most ineptdrag act on the planet. It's not just that these glam hams from Brum fall off their heels as they gyrate like turkeys in heat, it's that they strip naked and wave their inappropriate genitals right in your face. The guitars froth in premature approximation of New York Dolls vim and singer Matt yelps about how he wants someone to "Make my body so sex-sational." The combining effect is akin to being ravaged by a limp and slightly greasy inflatable doll. The band most likely to land a part in Velvet Goldmine II: The Cringeable Years.
From the opening whine of distorted voices pouting "You shake my body! You shake my body!", you know this is to be a song to which you can't keep still. The harsh guitars and relentless, stamping drums set you on automatic-headbang from the first second seconds of the intro.
Then Maxi's slightly tormented rasp carries the listener into the band's seemingly head-fucked, fucked-up, over-urgent view of lust and love. Sounding at times like a modern version of the Early Manics ("Got nothing to feel but empty love" harping back to the days of Generation Terrorists and Little Baby Nothing's reference to "vacant love"), this song sets King Adora in good stead to become the Manics' successors as rock's most vital anti-love representatives.
The electronic distortion now expected of the band really gives Smoulder the edge over the rest of the new `Artists Representing the Serious Evolution of Sound' (A.R.S.E.S). They're indie glamour with the 21st Century pressing into the back of their minds. They don't pretend `It's all about the guitars, maaaaan!!', but they prove that `real music' and modern technology aren't entirely mutually exclusive. AND THEY MAKE IT SEXY!!
The disintegrating plea at the beginning of the outro to "Make [their] body smoulder" and the adrenalin and amphetamine rush they seem to have stumbled into at the end of the song, take the listener into a sonic storm of sex and music, chewing them up and spitting the out with the final Dalek-voiced statement that we do, indeed, `Shake their bodies'.
Probably the band's kookiest, kinkiest, craziest single so far, it was seriously under-promoted. With a little more of a push it could easily have been King Adora's way into the UK Top 40, and it would have deserved it, too.
Smoulder - 9/10 - Potential
8/10 - Sound
Massive Ego Back to the top
Massive Ego sees King Adora displaying their wares when it comes to slightly gentler, more guitar-led songs. The curious bubbling, low in the mix, and the spine-tingling harmonies, courtesy of the surprisingly high-voiced Nelsta, force you to close your eyes and sing along to the soaring chorus.
The bizarre giggle as the song opens shows the `Doras having fun doing what they're doing and suggests that maybe - thankfully - they're not taking stardom as seriously as would be assumed from a band who are quite evidently in it for the glory as much as everything else. Their studio experimentation previously found its way onto disc in the form of a warped slur in the last quarter of Big Isn't Beautiful B-side, Comfortable. To this day, according to Robbie G, they have no idea what it was…
The 70's sci-fi flick-style quivering synths late in the song, accompanied by the squealing, vibrating guitars, drive the song deep into the psyche. For hours after hearing it you still find yourself wanting to sing out loud the beautiful, yet deliberately sarcastic, hook line of "Ooooh, what and ego!" in a voice some where between a pissed Kenneth Williams and Suede's Brett Anderson…
This song should probably have been a single, or at least worked it's way into the live set, such is it's ability to stay with you all day. It can also move you almost to tears when listened to in the right circumstances (The almost despairing guitars, coupled with the sulky "Love myself `cos no-one else does" makes it an apt track for moments of bored loneliness.)
We like, nay, <I>love</I>, this song enough to name our Webzine after it. Which I think says it all…
Massive Ego - 9*/10 - Potential
9*/10 - Sound
Loved Back to the top
This is a more than slightly surreal song; not least for the opening sound effect which could quite literally have been plucked from a cartoon (Bump the Elephant, no less). For those who are strangers to the `toon intended for pre-school children, it consists of a painfully high whistling sound that rises and falls like a small bird having difficulty in flight (which is more or less what it represents in the cartoon itself.).
Once again, the track is graced with some unfeasibly high vocals from Martyn, who, this time, is equally placed alongside Maxi's lead-vocals in the mix. It also possesses a curious stuttering drum line and a sudden tendency to shoot off into something resembling frustrated nu-metal, before plummeting back to an almost gentle, soothing, (ACCOUSTIC-SOUNDING?!?!?!) ballad.
Robbie G's understated bass carrying the steadiness of the song carefully saves it from collapsing into a mish-mash of distorted guitar and outrageous FX. The clear talent of the band's rhythm section here showing itself to be as relevant as the vicious guitars and curious samples which are the band's euphonious trademark.
The almost sorrowful line asking if you've "Ever been loved? (Cos I've never been loved…)" takes the band to uncharacteristically emotional territory, (Unless the line which appears to cry "Perfect Love" is actually not saying `perfect', but `pelvic' - in which case my days as a serious King Adora fan are numbered…) and, with the curious credit on the sleeve naming `The Nelsta' as the main writer of the track, it seems we may have found a member of King Adora who is not entirely obsessed with sex… Thank God.
Although this track is less radio-friendly than the previous two on the Smoulder CD, it is none the less very much in keeping with King Adora's heady guitar and FX sound, and at times arguably beautiful… A deserving B-side, possibly good enough to make the forth-coming debut album.
Loved - 6/10 - Potential
8/10 - Sound
Big Isn't Beautiful Back to the top
A-Pop-lectic fuzz-fest, a delicious velvet-wrapped parcle of punkish ambiguity. Rhymes "sexy" with "anorexia". Blimey. Cor. Great. Pixies.
M: (within five seconds) It's the Pixies."
F: "It's the Pixies."
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
M: "It's a good thing when it's the Pixies, it's a bad thing when it's not. It's listenable I suppose."
King Adora's Matt Browne states that this song is about anorexia from a male perspective but, laudable intentions aside, after a couple of minutes these standard-issue, pirouetting grunge chords, Browne's self-dramatising vocals ("I want to feel my bones against you bones/ I am a teenage drama queen"), only the most soft-hearted wouldn't feel the urge to shove a pork pie in his mouth.
Scream and Shout Back to the top
Select free CD
From the B-side to the Brum indie-glamsters' "Big isn't Beautiful" single.
Matt Browne: "It's just about nervose exhaustion - not being able to cope with things and cracking up. It's about the time we got signed. We were being courted by loads of different record companies, so it was all drinking and no sleep for a few weeks. We ended up in a couple of scraps with these buisnessmen who didn't like us being in their hotel. It was just one long drink and drugs binge. We were under a lot of pressure, so I had a little bit of a panic attack. I had to just scream and shout.
Bionic/The Law Back to the top
Weren't Terris supposed to sound like this? Like they'd just licked freshly slaughtered Foo Fighters from there lips and were preparing to caarve up every other great punk band of the last 20 years? Totally unstoppable and totally unstoppable and deleriously frenzied.
Steve: "I don't know how this bloke's not wreaked his throat on some notes - it's a bit like Feeder, with a bit of Billy Corgan thrown in. Considering they're Brummies, this has got to be good."
J: It's a bit like the new Smashing Pumpkins stuff. We're playing with them, so we'll definatly mosh to this."
Weekly session record of the week in Melody Maker
A week with this, but what the heck. One for the shopping list. King Adora are the Birmingham four-pieceI mentioned a few weeks ago who've just signed a two single deal with the Bluetones' Superior Quality lable. This fiery debut it one of the most energetic, engaging guitar-pop thrash-outs of the year: this band are going places.
The Law - Free CD with Melody Maker
Brummie rimmel enthusiasts get punky lust for the police.
Matt Browne (singer): "A tale of seduction and corruption. About getting your leg over with a copper and being caught with your pants down."