If you have not managed to catch King Super and the Excellents around Knoxville over the past year, their new album, "Hammertime County," is your chance to finally hear the group's excellence.
The long-awaited debut album delivers in every way possible, and all of the original songs that are staples in their riveting live performances are finally available for listening.
The band's website describes the 2012 Knoxville Sound Off winners by saying, "they arrived to earth with a desire to time travel, saving great American songs for the benefit of children of the future. Their brand of face-melting rock has blessed many rooms across the Southeastern United States and will continue expanding both set-lists and locations."
The band operates under a group of pseudonyms, with King Super himself on lead vocals, Georgie Paul on bass and sharing vocal duties, Maximus Dazzle on lead guitar and backing vocals and Scuba (Steve) keeping the drums rooted while delivering backing vocals.
The album initially explodes with the track "Rubie Twosday" with Paul crooning, "Which skin am I comfortable in? ... I can't feel what I'm trying to feel. Much less give anything back." The song chronicles spilling every drink at the bar, walking back to Applebee's to get the car, ruining a dress and throwing a wig in the trash to make a familiar fresh start.
The album's second track, "Persian Golf" shows off the group's funky side, while managing to make a powerful statement at the same time, with lyrics like "Hell's for people who believe in it."
The entire album consists of superb lyrics and it takes more than just one listen to catch what they are trying to say, but the experience is immensely rewarding.
"Taking Turns" could easily be the album's lead single, as it is incredibly catchy and also a staple in King Super's excellent live performances. It's interesting to see how a band that has been honing these songs at live performances over the past year succeeds in bringing the same amount of energy and fun into a recording studio.
Paul's voice is unmistakable and "Turns" shows off the sheer amount of effort that he puts into every song. "Mamorlasha" is a throwback to the golden age of doo-wop but with a twist chronicling one of the darkest times in Knoxville's history. The song flows along as a beautiful ode to Knoxville's own Market Square and Sundown in the City, but things take a major turn once the chorus hits. The song suddenly becomes harsh as Paul lashes out with,"There was a turd!" It has been rumored that the song got its title from the jumbled refrain of "Matt Morelock's Shop," the scene of the infamous scandal.
"Hyena" is the album's most adventurous track, quickly gaining the group airplay on WUTK, with its heavy guitars, distorted vocals and whelps from Paul throughout. The song feels slightly out of place, as none of the other tracks are nearly as intense with Paul's signature brand of "Face Melt Rawk," but it is still a roaring good time.
"Single Mom" is a slow jam that is an extravagant tribute to the beautiful landscape of females in the Old City, yet it gives valuable advice to men looking for companionship in the area. The group displays their chops at delivering a stunning background vocal performance; however, it's hard to believe that such a pretty song has such dark and depressing lyrical content. How does a band that melts faces as a profession write a song about the struggles of being a single mom? Ask the boys in King Super, as they do it in a stellar fashion.
The album closes with "Beaches," and Paul calls out people who desire to dissect the album's lyrics by instantly telling you, "this is a song about a kiss. Nothing more and nothing less." The song is King Super's love song to all the Queen Super's out there, and is impossible to listen to the song without a smile crossing your face. They could not have picked a better song to end the album with, as it embodies everything that is King Super: sultry vocals, flashy guitar solos, superb lyrics and a band that knows who they want to be.
King Super's debut album has been long awaited and fans were skeptical if they could deliver an album that gave credit to their live reputation. This is not an album that anyone will listen to once and forget about, but it is likely they will find themselves listening to again and again, enjoying the group in all their glory.