Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Kingsway isn't a band so much as a collective, a group of musicians from the Vancouver area who make records around the songwriting of one RC Joseph.  They/he are mainstays on the indie front there, with five albums now over ten years.  RC himself handles the vocals, and is this case, the Van City bunch has teamed up with one of the country's best roots-rock groups, The Weber Brothers from Ontario.  That alone makes the album worth checking out, as the Weber bunch made one of my favourite discs of last year. 

The good news is the band brings its full efforts to the project, providing a grand sound steeped in classic soul grooves, living up to the drama in Joseph's writing.  More good news is that RC's the real deal, a guy who puts together big productions, with some epics that make you move, and make you think, too.  A story-teller, he has that Springsteen street-opera thing, where even a love song has tension and plot.  "Drawbridge" matches call-and-response vocals with Pam Woodall, linking the highest art (Venus d'Milo), water images and the beauty inside a lover.  There are a few of these boy-girl songs, before Joseph gets down to business with the centerpiece cut, "Xmas Song", slower, darker, and eight minutes of excitement. The cuts builds as the Weber guys go slowly crazy, putting everything into a claustrophobic powerhouse of intense guitar lines and drums.

There's nothing particularly alternative here, it's more retro and roots than anything else.  But that's kind of the new indie, isn't it?  All those old-fashioned ideas of songs adding up to something, finding sympathetic players and making a joyful rock sound seem quaint on the surface, but hold a lot more to discover than whatever the post-post-post crowd are up to these days.

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