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“All That I Want” by Kings County

In their new single “All That I Want,” Kings County establish themselves as a rock n’ roll syndicate far more interested in meaningful melodicism than they are blind muscularity, but while that might seem like a bit of a conflict to puritan fans of the genre, it’s creating a sound that longtime stalwarts are taking a keen interest in this winter. “All That I Want” blasts us with minimal distortion and maximum melodic ribbonry propelled forth by a gritty drumbeat, and although it’s mixed with a lot of rough grain in its grooves, it has a more infectious energy because of this very factor. Metalheads and rock enthusiasts are rarely listening to the same records these days, but this is a track I think both groups could get into with ease.

Lyrically speaking, there’s a certain poeticism to “All That I Want” that isn’t exactly enigmatic, but it could be read a lot of different ways just the same. Kings County have no trouble wearing their hearts on their sleeves here, and despite the emotive tone of the lyrics, there’s nothing about the vocal that could be misread as overly gushy or balladic in tone. Most of the moodiness in this track comes from the instrumentation, and though the vocal is really important to our understanding the context of the emotion, it isn’t as essential to the composition as the bass, drums and guitar are. These are blue collar musicians with a legit work ethic, and it didn’t take much more than a cursory examination of this single to appreciate that.

Kings County aren’t just communicating to us through their lyrics in “All That I Want;” in actuality, the guitar is doing a lot of expressing on its own, as is the heartbeat-like percussion and mischievous bass. Each component is giving us a different piece of the puzzle to assemble on our own here, and while I wouldn’t say that this track is an exercise in progressive rock aesthetics, it’s got a particular conceptualism that I would really like to hear the band experiment with more in their future work. Obviously they’re just getting their feet wet with this virgin offering, but with first-timer results like these under their belts, there’s no telling how far they could go in their sophomore effort.

Mixing power metal intensity with alternative rock self-awareness, Kings County deliver a smashing new single in “All That I Want” that lives up to its title and then some while never overstating a specific theme within the band’s sound. I don’t know that mainstream audiences will have as much love for this track as the underground will (particularly in the United States and Canada), but I wouldn’t dismiss Kings County’s larger aspirations at all. They’ve got a lot of hard work left to do in making their music as lean and mean as possible, but a song like “All That I Want” shows us a lot about their artistry, and moreover, what they could do with it if given the right means in the studio.

Mindy McCall

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