Lola King & The Kick Starts - The Handmade Tale Of Lola King & The Kick Starts 
Lola King & The Kick Starts - The Handmade Tale Of...

Release Date: 24th February 2014

You know when you meet someone and they introduce themselves as quirky or crazy or mental? Like I imagine Zooey Deschanel does? I find that really irritating. It's not their decision to make surely, I'll be the judge of your mentalness thank you very much! Anyway, on first reading through the info surrounding Lola King & The Kick Starts, I got the impression that Ms King might be one of those people (her twitter is @loladangerking fercrissakes, 'Danger' is my middle name. Geddit? OMG....and so on). But I always give the music a chance to shine through - I mean, Kelly Jones is a prick but I quite like the early Stereophonics stuff.

The album kicks off with the Lily Allen-esque 'The Great Divide' which is a nice enough slice of Thames Estuary indie-pop with a scuzzy guitar solo. 'I Don't Care If You Say I'm Going Nowhere' is a jaunty, defiant slice of fun in the mold of early Noisettes while 'Bounce Together' is essentially Kate Nash in upbeat mood. There is a subtlety to 'The Brave May Not Live Forever' that is appealing with its honest recording and raw production qualities whereas 'I Left My Heart In England' is a stab at Billy Bragg style songwriting with more of a pop feel. I'm all for an interlude or a secret track but 'Interlude in F Sharp' just sounds like the stoned, expletive ridden ramblings of a woman to wasted to stay the right distance from the microphone. Thus far it's all OKish stuff but there's nothing really groundbreaking, refreshing or exciting to hook in to.

'This Is Not A Love Song' is surely the single as there is bigger production, more attitude and a sense that this would be an anthem for the E4 generation but it lacks the bite of a No Doubt or Skunk Anansie. There is a delightful acoustic opening to 'Heard It All Before' that puts me in mind of Dylan or the underrated Avert Francis and this is overlaid with that Thames twang again as King tells a tale of those who prefer saying anything over actually saying something - possibly the highlight of the album for me as it segues seamlessly in to the spoken word sparseness 'Interlude In A Box'. 'Your Own Beat' is a little more upbeat with a ska feel and King spitting and rhyming furiously over some wah-wah laden guitars. There's a bluesy, soulful vibe to 'Howl For Me Baby' as King asks us to "Howl, howl for me baby like a dog in heat" - not the most poetic or subtle lyric ever but at least you get the message, I suppose. Closing track 'Tick Tock' again features slightly over distorted vocals but the stabs of strings and understated persistent rhythm are appealing.

This is a funny one really, I still think Lola King might be annoying on first meeting but if you have the patience and stamina then stick with her. After a couple of drinks I reckon the facade will come down and you'll find an interesting person with talent that needs nurturing and a little time. As a first album this is promising stuff but I reckon that if these guys continue to produce music over a lengthy period of time then they will look back at this with a sense of embarrassed affection. A bit like a picture of your first rebellious teenage haircut.

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