The most accessible King's X album in years isn't a return to the distinct crunchy guitars and timeless Beatles-esque harmonies the Houston-based trio carved out in the late-Eighties and early-Nineties. Black Like Sunday actually delves back even further, serving up 14 newly recorded songs that bassist and lead singer Doug Pinnick, guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill originally wrote before landing their first record deal, which led to the recording of 1988's landmark debut Out of the Silent Planet.
The wide array of songs on Black Like Sunday run the gamut from the catchy and vaguely familiar chorus of "Rock Pile," to the Eighties-style New-Wave vocal effects of "Working Man," to the psychedelic guitars of "Dreams." There's even a rare boy-meets-girl song called "Finished," plus one of the mellowest tunes the band ever recorded called "Down." And the 11-and-a-half-minute track "Johnny" foreshadows some of the self-indulgence that King's X would eventually wallow in during the band's later days. Of course, a few songs – namely "Bad Luck," "Won't Turn Back" and the title track – still manage to sound like something left over from the sessions for Out of the Silent Planet or its 1989 successor, Gretchen Goes to Nebraska.
This isn't as good as either of those records, but it's better than, say, 2000's Please Come Home ... Mr. Bulbous. The guys in King's X easily could have radically altered some of these songs, making them conform more to the band's current output. But that wouldn't have been any fun – for us or for them. If these are indeed the original songs just simply re-recorded as they were meant to be heard so many years ago, kudos are in order to the trio for respecting its past and letting fans in on the earliest compositions of a band that have spent nearly 25 years refusing to stand still.