Album Review: King Cannons - The Brightest Light

23 June 2012 | 5:37 pm | Michael Smith

It’s certainly an uplifting, heady mix, plugging straight into that anthemic thing that made Springsteen.

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Kick-starting proceedings with a rousing crowd rallying in Stand Right Up, King Cannons keep it real, rough and ready on their debut album. You can certainly hear The Clash in the straightforward rock approach to it all. And there's plenty of Joe Strummer in singer Luke Yeoward's lyrical call-to-arms, whether it's defying the system – “We're too young to settle down/ Fighting a worker's battleground” (Too Young) – or just to “crawl out from under that thumb” (The Brightest Light) and demanding the right to choose.

It's certainly an uplifting, heady mix, plugging straight into that anthemic thing that made Springsteen, another blue-collar guy who knew how to harness the popular zeitgeist. It's all stomp and blokey backing chants; it works a treat and always has – it did for Slade back in the day as much as it did later for the more credible Clash and Living End. To shake things up a bit, there's percussion courtesy of Lanae Eruera, adding just enough understated exoticism to nudge away from the formula.

Melodically things aren't too complicated – some songs are pretty interchangeable – but that's cool too. Most bands only have a couple of licks around which they wrap their careers and King Cannons' core ones are pretty damned good ones - tensile, tried and tested (and likely to remain so regardless of where rock'n'roll might go next). It's all about tension and release and King Cannons have got that sussed, stripping back the chug through the verses and pumping it hard in the choruses – you can just see a heaving sea of blokes in blue singlets chanting along, just like the old days with the 'Oils. Stadiums are just a shot... er, few thousand sales away.