Surrealism has been everywhere in music in the last few years, but if there’s a true-blue rock and roll band around these days that could care less about avant-garde tones and experimental concepts, it’s Florida’s Kings County, who openly reject trends and those who would seek to set them in their forceful new album Kings County and its lead single, “All That I Want.” “All That I Want” bludgeons us with its guitars, cuts loose in its chorus and showers anyone within reach with distorted melodies as rich as they are tuneful, and while this track probably wasn’t composed as a statement of rebellion from its players, it certainly sounds and feels like a declaration of war against a music industry bloated with its own pretentions.
The instrumentation in this song would be utterly crushing were it not mixed as tightly as it was, but it isn’t matched up with a singer who can’t deliver just as much of a thwack with his words. The chemistry between the musicians in Kings County is obviously unforced and not the product of some label A&R department’s ultimate marketing scheme; there’s simply too much of a connection between all of the working parts in the music for that to be the case. They’re not competing for our attention in “All That I Want” as much as they’re playing to maximize the sonic scope between them, which has been an issue among similarly stylized bands to come out of both the east and west coasts in the last quarter-century.
“All That I Want,” much like Kings County’s brilliant songs “7 Reasons,” “Take It or Leave It” and metal-heavy “Blood Stained Adrenaline,” is a song that lives and dies by its thick guitar parts, and I for one think they emit some of the better tones I’ve heard on an independent rock record in a while. I have a feeling that Kings County want us to feel their music as much as we hear it, and through their carefully-constructed components – from a complexly mastered guitar track to its relationship with the bass, drums and vocal in the mix – they’re giving us the kind of authentic listening experience that scores of rock fans had complained about missing in the 2010s.
Kings County aren’t a household name yet, and I wouldn’t anticipate seeing them at any nationally-broadcast award ceremonies this year, but if you’re looking for as real a rock sound as you can find in the year 2020, the new single “All That I Want” and its eight tracklist neighbors on their debut album need to be in your playlist queue this January. They’re onto something really special here, and though they can’t be accused of riding the postmodern-inspired wave with other indie acts, their music is as thought-provoking as anything I’ve heard in the underground lately. “All That I Want” is a good introduction to their style, and I don’t doubt that it will raise their profile throughout the country (and the world) as the year progresses on.