Playing this through anything less than a proper hi-fi is a rather empty experience — the main sound of the first track is bass — and if I'm being entirely honest I prefer the Puppies' more whimsical story songs. King of England is anti-war or at least anti-Blair... an admirable sentiment (i.e. one I share), but as far as the song goes, it feels as if the track is pulled two ways; retro funk and oblique critique... whilst trying not to begrudge experimentation; I hope the forthcoming second album, Blue Hands, isn't representatively previewed here thematically. As the cliché runs, it's not them it's me, but having been disappointed by The Wildhearts this year I'm holding out hope that another band I like — with a very distinctive sound — won't similarly change direction towards material that doesn't feel as distinctive.
Power to Spare is lighter, whilst also running afoul of a taste reservation: I find chants that spell out words like "P-O-W-E-R to spare" one of the more annoying forms of repetition a song can dabble in. On the more positive side, the instruments are tight and precise, and production-wise arrangements are a constant high these days. There's also an instrument in the background at times (a bit like in Love or Trial) that I can't place but connects in my head with a TV theme — C4's The Book Group — that made a strong favourable impression on me. Never underestimate weird personal connections to certain tones and frequencies in forming a closer appreciation for songs.
So we've got a band I like — in particular, a vocalist you could generally get to recite the phone book and I'd listen — and two tracks that slightly aggravate. I've no doubt they'll get stuck on playlists with the collected other recordings, as neither are bad — both are already settling in with more listens — and mixed with other songs the niggling bits will commix into a longer listen like the corpse of something small and furry trapped by carpet fitters.
This concludes a doubtless extremely unhelpful review of the single I came back to find waiting for me in the post, having ordered it unheard online whilst abroad.
King of England Give me steel, give me turbo and sin And you can point your missiles at me I've been sleeping for four long years I wanna know what happened to the money I'll chase you down ??? Dead satellites ??? With just a dashboard figurine I have in my hand ??? I'm the king of England So bring me the head of the man Who took my people to war I'm the king of England So give me a piece of your heart So I can put it up on the wall How dare you sharpen your claws With the word, with the word of God Is this really how the West got won By (throwing ashes at the innocent stone?) I wanna creep, I wanna creep and crawl Where the thoroughbred won't tread Where the papers don't get shed And where the new appaller's not dead I'm the king of England So bring me the head of the man Who took my people to war I'm the king of England So give me a piece of your heart So I can put it up on the wall I'm the king of England You didn't hear it from me You didn't hear it that love is built I'm the king of England So bring me the head of the man Who took my people to war I'm the king of England So give me a piece of your heart So I can put it up on the wall I'm the king of England You didn't hear it from me You didn't hear that love is built through darkened doors Under midtowns We take it slow To you
Power to Spare Do you remember when I was the king of England? And if you wanna live in my kingdom You gotta French-kiss your neighbour Oh yeahhh Do you remember when I was (Leo Baker?) I had speakers on every street corner And all they played was (Dan C?) junior And I did it Yeah, I did it with power to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare Oh, power, is just ??? Do you remember when I had celestial vision So you bought me pink sunglasses I case I burnt down the city Oh yeahhh I could have done it Yeah, I could've done it with power to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare Oh, power, is just ??? Do you remember when it was snowing down by the harbour You said we could change the world with just the tip of a finger But then something came along and now the moment's gone forever But you could have done it Yeah, you could have done it with power to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare P O W E R to spare Oh, power, is just ??? Oh, power, is just (a full moon heartbeat away?)