King of Number 33
Audio CD | Import
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2012 album from the British Prog Rock band. Written by Andy Ditchfield and Tony Wright, King of Number 33 centers around the 27 minute epic title track 'King of Number 33'. The six chapter long song describes the downfall of a local eccentric from singer Tony Wright's childhood, arising from the lunatic's obsession with busses and past Kings and Queens of England. To this tale, Andy Ditchfield applies his broad musical palette. The album features a vocal guest appearance by no other than the biggest mid-1980's teen idol Nik Kershaw('Wouldn't It Be Good') on the song 'Memo', the closing track of King of Number 33. Nik is joined by Ainsley Wills, a great friend of the band and one of the North East's finest guitarists. Ainsley lays down the first of two guitar solos in 'Memo'. Earmusic.
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Top customer reviews
“Me and My Downfall” kicks this one right into immediate overdrive, no quarter asked or given. Stubborn, swift and solid like some of the recent PTree material where sweeping keys and menacing guitar snarls, booming bass and the Rogers steamroller elevate the tune to glorious heights, with dejected RPWL’s Yogi Lang-like vocals providing the brisk doom and gloom. The dead simple mid-section has the burnt smell of oily turbo charged riffs that can only induce a smile from the most jaded listener. This rocks and rocks well. What an opening salvo!
“Maybe September” is dripping in opaque synth and cello-driven melancholia, intensely autumnal and desolately beautiful. Upon repeated listens, this piece really exudes an incredible emotional intensity, a trembling Tony Wright vocal full of pain and delicate agony with Marillion’s Mark Kelly providing that special classic touch. Take notice of the synth work here, a pure ivory blitzkrieg that is only overtaken by a thrilling axe solo from Ditchfield. Rogers batters this whole into a massive orgasmic oblivion. Phew!
Jude Kelly (Mark’s little daughter?) introduces this monster highlight, with initial techno-like keys evolving into a crunch-guitar riff that explodes into this unreal main melody. Some kind of instrumental multi-tasking on the sensational “Marty and the Magic Goose” from the supremely talented Andy Ditchfield who supplies all the swirling guitar, sinuous bass and whopping keys while Rogers keeps the rock steady. The atmosphere is chaotically controlled within a tight sonic context and its just plain superb.
The bulk of this stupendous album relies on the multi-part epic suite that gives us the title, a colossal adventure that scans the entire spectrum of modern prog, littered with achingly beautiful melodies, deadly choruses, scintillating solos and tremendous vocal work from Tony and Steve Wright, together with Ditchfield all give the arrangements a profound sense of accomplishment. Needless to say once again, Rogers pummels with unabashed gusto, confirming his obvious sense of propulsion.
The classic “Memo” finishes this one off with utter gusto, a brilliant and memorable tune that sticks in your mind long after consumption. Rogers ripples intensely, the bass burping along, content while the melody just dredges intensely into the psyche. A perfect example of why Henry Rogers is such a kick-ass drummer, just check out and contemplate in awe his work, a shivering experience to say the least! Real drumming! Moving impeccably from hard-driving to even more majestic propulsion , maintaining that solid foundation of sound is a voice to be heard on your speakers. Play it loud….
Astonishingly, the once famed pop singer Nik Kershaw handles the vocal (the man always had a definite prog tendency) and this majestic and memorable track puts an end to an entirely satisfying sonic adventure.
Fans of melodic and concussive prog such as Porcupine Tree, Haken, Galahad, RPWL, Sylvan, Silhouette, Mystery, Nine Stones Close etc…will lap this stuff up with utter glee.
A do-not-miss 2012 release.
On all songs except Memo the lead vocal is weak. There is no presence to the singer's voice. Maybe if they bring in the guy who sings Memo to do leads next time it will help.
Next bit of whining I want to do concerns the mixing. The bass (or guitar chords in some sections?) and drums are overpowering. There are sections where the keyboard is building and developing certain sections and it can barely be heard. The producer should be replaced. If you listen to, for just one example, the early Genesis album Nursery Chryme, you can hear the balance I'm talking about. Balance between instruments is, for the most part, lacking on King of Number 33. The emphasis placed on bass and drums ruins the listening experience and I had to listen to the title track several times before I liked it at all, simply because I couldn't hear the different parts because of the overpowering bass & drums.
On the positive side, once I was able to focus in on the construction of the songs, I found most of the songs interesting. The first song, Me and My Downfall, is absolutely killer. I loved everything about it. The vocal range is right in the singer's wheelhouse and he managed to project. (Still, these vocals were not particularly strong but they do serve the song.) The balance between the instruments is good. The imagery created by the lyrics is solid and makes it easy to buy into the song's premise. The development of the sections of the song and the transitions between sections are fresh. The band really has a great creative spark.
The title track was a bit disappointing. The vocals were perhaps the weakest on the entire album. There is too much instrumental repetition. The spark of creativity shown on the first track is not nearly as evident here. It seems the band was bound and determined to write an epic length prodg suite and they were going to do it even if it meant boring the listener to achieve that goal. If they would have cut it in half maybe I'd feel differently. Again, after several listenings in order to hear past the overpowering bass and drums, I think I can hear what they were trying to do, (maybe I can't), but IMO it doesn't work here.
All my seeming negativity aside, I look forward to the next album. The creative spark is very real with DeeExpus and I can't wait to see where it leads them. I only hope a good producer is along for the ride next time.