Kings to You - The Antidote
Record Label: None
Release Date: March 20, 2007
I didn't think that the lines between early pop punk and modern mainstream radio intersected. Apparently, I had just never heard of SoCal's Kings to You. This band manages to mash together the sounds of the time when the "punk" mattered more than the "pop" with what you can hear if you switch on your local alternative rock station.
The Antidote's opening track, "Fight Night" opens slowly but the chorus soon rushes forward into the story of an estranged girlfriend. Cliché as this may sound, the lyrics are intensely personal and the addition of thrashing guitars and drums add to the painful emotions. Singer David Arthur has a strong voice capable or conveying such ideas in a believable way - you know he knows what he's talking about. The band powers through to "The Rise," which sounds much like the early work of So They Say. The song has a raucous chorus that pulls the song forward.
The album's fifth track, "Show Yourself," is an instrumental track. While technically sound, it's not particularly interesting and seems to slow down the album's momentum rather than add any new layers to it. However, the drums kick back in immediately with "Strike Back," a song that does exactly what its title says. It's got a huge sing along chorus about running away and never looking back. That seems to be the mantra for this band - grab your chance to get away while you can to make your way in life. "Strike Back" also features a brief guitar solo; this would be a great choice for a single.
"Take the Fall" is an acoustic based track that showcases the softer side of the band, and in particular Arthur's vocal capabilities. This slow burning ballad hints at a future possibility of mainstream radio play for Kings to You. The band then pummels through another couple of rock songs before coming to the album's second ballad, "The Arrow or the Hero," where Arthur attempts a falsetto. It works fairly well, but I wish he had chosen his regular range, seeing as the lyrics to this song are so good:
the apple fell far from the tree and the arrow was shaky in hand / the target and my expectation struck me down instead / I won't be reminded of the damages you've done / so if I don't stand for something good in this world / set me sail and let me drift out to sea
Unfortunately, the song ends rather abruptly, and what could potentially be a tear jerking track simply feels unfinished. The album's closer, "Misconception," has a nice melody and again showcases the band's talent when it comes to lyrics. It's slightly more low-key than most of the rockers on the the disc, and winds the album down quite nicely. With a little polishing and a little more decisiveness in the direction they would like to take, Kings to You have the potential to be a massive rock band.