Kings Stream Debut I Trust the Hounds are Hungry EP

It didn’t take much more than the swinging, catchy chorus of “Fuck yesterday/Fuck today/Fuck tomorrow” from opener “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” for Kings‘ debut EP, I Trust the Hounds are Hungry, to have me hooked. The leadoff track from the Leeds-based five-piece featuring former Humanfly guitarist/vocalist John Sutcliffe (here just vocals) as well as guitarists Jonty Shaw and Joe Hodgson, bassist Paul Handley and drummer Simon Blakelock — all who formerly worked together under the moniker Shields — establishes the base for the rest of the release in tying together a sharp lyrical wit with weighted but upbeat doom-pop push. At times Kings sound like they’re working within the post-Floor/Torche framework, but Blakelock‘s drumming is coming from someplace more metal, swing though it does, and their take is rawer overall despite the accessibility of their hooks and fervent melodicism.

They do it well, and sound more accomplished on their first release perhaps because four-fifths of the band has worked together previously — Shields had songs recorded and had been playing live — but however they got to cohesion, the important thing is they did. Cumbersome in its title but direct in its impact, second cut “Matron, Hand Me My Revolver, I’m Going for a Walk in the Woods, “I May be Some Time” affirms the quality craft of the opener and overarching efficiency of the release; I Trust the Hounds are Hungry isn’t without atmosphere, but the material is still pretty pointed. A swaying groove leads finishes out and leads to the airy opening of “Fuck Quest,” which has a more manic feel thanks to double-timed hi-hat work, but opens up to a mosh-ready chorus, Sutcliffe‘s vocals further back in the mix but still clean as Shaw and Hodgson play off burgeoning lead/rhythm dynamics. “Helen Earth” is probably their most Torche-sounding, but they maintain a progressive feel leading to a chugging build in the second half that answers back the gulping Hungry Hungry Hippo riffing that capped “Lieutenant Wolfhammer” and moves forward into the instrumental “Shit Leopard” (presumably with its shit spots) smoothly, a cold stop giving way to some sampled crumpling noise and a more mellowed-out progressivism in the guitars.

Rounding out, “P.S. Go Fuck Yourself” brings in elements of post-Mastodon riffy largesse, but Kings continue to keep motion central to their approach, a cyclical pre-chorus opening to one of the EP’s most effective hooks. As one might expect, the finish is big and chaotic, and that adds to the full-length feel of the 25-minute I Trust the Hounds are Hungry and bodes well for the construction of Kings‘ first full-length, making it an impressive first outing for a band who write their potential into each of the six included tracks.

Kings will release the I Trust the Hounds are Hungry EP this Saturday, July 5, but you can hear it in full using the player below. Thanks to the band for permission to host the stream:

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