MANY Rotherham music fans will most likely be familiar with much of the content on Alvarez Kings’ latest EP but it’ll be a pleasant surprise to those not yet in the know.
A four-track showcase for the blend of “progressive pop” and guitar-fuelled ballads which convinced industry giants Warner Bros to offer them their long-held dream of a record deal, Fear to Feel is made up of four love songs of different tone but similar sound.
Opening track Run from You and closer The Tortured and the Tears both open with a slow-burning intro before building into an impassioned refrain, singer Simon Thompson’s soulful delivery conveying the necessary emotion.
Title track Fear to Feel and Telltale Heart are louder affairs and both had me clicking repeat as soon as they have finished.
Thompson’s lyrics about the fragility of love and the risk of commitment are by turns heartbreaking and seductive and it would take a hardened heart to remain unmoved.
Which would be all in vain if the accompanying melody were not up to scratch, but the band’s songwriting and the musicianship of guitarist Sean Parkin, bassist Paul Thompson and drummer Rich Walker holds things together handsomely on that score.
The Kings’ sound has softened yet grown in stature from their more raw early days with their increased experience and personal maturity, and it seems everything has come together at the right time.
It last year’s No Resolve was the benchmark, these two new offerings have raised the bar.
It’s not an easy trick to come up with a memorable chorus and an infectious guitar hook, but Thompson and co seem to have the knack.
And the prominent addition of strings, synth and brass on the newest songs achieves the enviable feat of enhancing them without ever making them feel cluttered.
This collection, which I can see being lapped up by audiences on the US-wide Warped Tour this summer, more than serves to whet the appetite for an album set to follow, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.