King Lizard - 2011 - Viva La Decadence
1. Viva La Decadence
2. Rain On You
3. Rock N' Roll Me
4. Hell Yeah
5. Video Lover
6. Kan't Kill Rock N' Roll
7. Never Be Mine
8. Not For Me
10. Taste The Hate
12. Late Nite Dynamite
13. Johnny B. Goode (Bonus Track)
Ready for a power punch to the groins? Here's King Lizard for ya!
A pair of snake-clad silicone hooters stare you straight in the face, and Viva La Decadence is off for a smashing start.Title track "Viva La Decadence" comes hard, very powerful and in-your-face and taking very little time to cool down. I never thought obnoxious would have a positive meaning, but the chorus sounds just like it's being shouted in your face (from a very short distance). Killer!
Already convinced that Britain's King Lizard is a band that deserves a place on stage better than on an album, I can tell that one track will be more than enough to have you checking out their touring schedule.
The Lizards keep the train rolling top-speed with "Rain On You". Great hooks in the guitar work and the interaction between vocals and music will leave you humming this one along for a long time.
Another batch of great chops and original riffage is delivered in "Rock N' Roll Me". Perhaps a little over-eager on the pinch harmonics, this song is the most over-the-top one of the album, but don't let that be a bad thing, this is still a very groovy rocker.
Back to the in-your-face attitude with "Hell Yeah". The opening bass line deceivingly leads to a more sleazy song, only to come back as break between chorus and verse. "Hell Yeah" will separate the lovers from the haters, especially because of the rather experimental last break.
"Video Lover" once again opens very rhythmically, flowing into the lead riff that drives an up-tempo track. The chorus lacks the power of the previous songs, but counters that with a high level of singalong-ability. Yet another standout song, with great attention to the instrumental part halfway through. Party music!
Probably the most groove-oriented song on the album, is "Kan't Kill Rock N' Roll". The message is clear, now let the music do the talking. Very up and down in the verses, to give it all in the chorus and drop back into the climax/anticlimax scheme of the next verse, brilliant!
"Never Be Mine" is the half-of-the-album marker, and takes it all down some. Tons of pinch again, but in no way does this overpower the vocals, which is where the lead role of "Never Be Mine" lies. Rather than a cheesy power ballad, this is an enchanting song that shows hints of a blues-influenced music style. It takes a few listens, but you'll love it in the end. The last 2-3 minutes of the song, could just as easily have been a different song altogether, but the added voodoo value they give to the whole, makes perfect sense.
Just when I thought "Never Be Mine" would be the slowest King Lizard could go, they drop in "Not For Me". Much in the vein of the American pioneers of the genre we all love, "Not For Me" reminds me of Cinderella, Skid Row, you name it... What it lacks in speed and power, it makes up for in layer and feeling.
A piano introduction paves the way for "Riot". Dark and ominous-sounding, the piano makes way for the bass, closely followed by the rest of the gang. The dark and brooding atmosphere does not disappear completely, but "Riot" takes a lighter form in the chorus, where it all bursts open. Think Love/Hate verses, very non-conventional stuff. In the end, the piano is added back in the mix, with a great interactive lyrical part to lead us into the siren-covered outro.
After this set of longer and less brainless rockers, it's back to the start with "Taste The Hate". Up-tempo, energetic and even a little chaotic at times, King Lizard still go strong after 10 songs, while most would be filling instead of killing now...
Without going into too much detail, "Outrageous" and "Late Nite Dynamite" deliver another taste of the same pie: original, going against the flow of what's considered standard in this genre, and not dropping the pace of the song for one single second.
As a bonus treat, we get the song that got covered countless times already: "Johnny B. Goode". King Lizard give their own touch to it, but who can ever match the original? I'm sorry to say they dropped the ball on this one. After a killer album, my expectations were maybe too high, and no one can reinvent the wheel, but I'm not sure this one should have been on here...
This last little point of critique can not dampen my spirits after listening to this album though, since it's going in the "best of 2011" pile for sure. And to think they already had me convinced when I saw the artwork...