Alright, Wikipedia, what big new albums came out this week?
So I’ve been listening to this indie record a lot lately.
The Future Kings of Nowhere are a North Carolina acoustic punk band. Most of the punch on their self-titled album comes from a basic drums, bass, and acoustic guitar setup, although plenty of horns and occasional piano make an appearance. The Future Kings of Nowhere hits the ground running with “Lather, Rinse, Repeat”, which excels thanks to the gang vocals and harmonies on the chorus. Next song “10 Simple Murders” almost sounds like slightly stripped down Flogging Molly with rapid fire drums, aggressive acoustic strumming, and a rise-and-fall bassline.
Outside of “10 Simple Murders”, the lyrical content on The Future Kings of Nowhere centers on tried and true lyrical themes of self-deprecation, adolescent/early adult frustration, and girls. Thankfully, Future Kings of Nowhere have strong enough lyrics that instead of being the usual cliche drivel, it actually works. Look at “I Want You”, for example. A usual “boy likes girl” number, half smirking lyrics like “On the off-chance that you hear this song, I’ll try and make it quick. I know I ramble on and your attention’s limited.So I’ll skip the metaphor and head right for the heart of it: I want you.” handle familiar topics with a refreshing sense of poetry. That same poetry saves the sparse “Emily” from becoming too hum-drum, but damn if it ain’t a sad song.
Another interesting aspect of The Future Kings of Nowhere isn’t just their instrumentation, but how they use it. Most of these songs (save “Song for Catherine”) are built around acoustic guitar, but it’s almost played like an electric. If the band used an electric guitar, the record would probably sound like your usual pop-punk fair, but using an acoustic actually makes for livelier songs in this case. One such song is “Never”, which keeps a breakneck pace for three cathartic minutes.
A large part of the band’s instrumental success comes from how tight they sound. With the guitar putting down basic chords most of the time, the bass steps forward as a lead instrument, and manages to do a solid job. And the drum work is pretty top notch, too; hitting hard in just the right places. Frequently, a horn section comes in to add some flourishes, such as on closer “Paper Napkins”. The unpolished but clear production definitely helps instruments come through, too.
Overall, The Future Kings of Nowhere is a solid record. There are plenty of hooks and energy to draw you in, as well as harmonies and melodies that command attention, and end up staying in your head hours later. The lead vocals can be a little rough at times, and anyone without patience for slightly neurotic lyrics might roll their eyes at a line or two, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Four and a half stars.
tl;dr: The Future Kings of Nowhere should go somewhere. 4.5/5
Download the album for free here.