This week I’ve been listening to a band that I’ve known for a long time, but somehow just discovered. It’s To Kill a King’s new self titled album that has really caused me to become immersed in the art they’ve created. Released just last month, it is an upbeat collection of folk-rock songs which catch my attention because of their unique use of harmonies, strings, and horns, and also the fact that they find a way to be catchy and interesting.
I first heard of To Kill a King through Dan Smith of Bastille, who is probably their biggest fan boy in the world. Sometimes it seems like the only shirts he owns are To Kill a King band shirts! Dan Smith and the lead singer of To Kill a King, Ralph Pellymounter have actually been friends for a long time and were roommates during University, starting a music project of their own called Annie Oakley Hanging. About two years ago, Dan Smith featured in one of Raph’s Balcony sessions on Youtube which is Pellymounter’s project that gets musicians to collaborate and perform a song together. The To Kill a King song, Choices, included all the musicians that had been a part of the balcony sessions, which meant a lot of strings, voices, and horns, all in an open field to make a big sound that I fell in love with immediately. But when I found the recorded version it was a lot slower and lacked the energy of the live performance. All of their music seemed kind of slow and, unlike with Choices live, it wasn’t love at first listen.
Then 5 months ago they put out their “Exit, Pursued By A Bear” EP which rekindled my interest. It featured some of the more up tempo songs and catchy writing that I was hoping to hear when I first decided to listen to this band. It was this EP that prompted me to keep a closer eye on them, and I’m glad I did because it seems they have just released their greatest work to date. On their new self titled album To Kill a King have really stepped up their game and created something that I can’t wait to buy and listen to a hundred times. It seems the band are conscious of this shift into a bigger sound, saying this on their website:
“To Kill a King is a statement record. The reason it’s self-titled is to underline the fact that this is a new start. This is the band’s Year Zero. Anything is possible. The people who wrote the first album have changed so much, says singer Ralph Pellymounter. When the band began, they never imagined they would be able to play the venues that they now inhabit. But now their sights are set and To Kill a king are writing songs of scope and scale to match new ambitions. ‘This album reflects the audience numbers we’re playing to,’ he says. ‘These are songs designed to be played on a bigger stage.’”