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KingBathmat: Crowning Glory

So there's this guy in the United Kingdom who's a one-man band that goes by the odd name of KingBathmat. John Bassett's first self-released KingBathmat CD, Son of a Nun (he really is the son of a nun) was a hypnotic listen that ran the gamut from Beatlesesque melodies to progressive arrangements. Now comes Crowning Glory, an album that's on an entirely higher wavelength than its predecessor in nearly all categories including song structure, melody, vocals and production even though Son of a Nun was a strong record in its own right.

Bassett's voice has improved tremendously between early 2003 and early 2004, to the point where it sounds like it should be heard by the masses. I hesitate to draw comparisons to the likes of John Mayer and Coldplay's Chris Martin, because it could give new listeners the wrong idea. But Bassett has a tendency toward low-key performances that carry just enough weight to not bog down a given song. His voice is weary yet hopeful, conflicted yet peaceful.

The 10 songs here are smart, haunting, introspective, clever and a little sad yet highly listenable. Among the best is "Fair Weather Friend," a mid-tempo plea to a friend who has seemingly lost all hope, and a song on which Bassett sounds as if he's backed by a small choir. Meanwhile, the melancholy closer "A Million Dreams" manages to invoke musical influences from every decade since the Sixties. It would be a leap to call the tracks on Crowning Glory purely "progressive," but they do have a sense of complexity and adventure that will attract fans of progressive music. Many of these songs would be just at home on Adult Album Alternative (AAA) radio stations as they would on a progressive-rock Internet radio broadcast. That they're not is a shame.

Track Listing
1) As Ever (4:45)
2) The Final Star (3:12)
3) Top of the World (3:59)
4) Almost There (4:00)
5) Alcohol Sea (5:22)
6) Rain On (3:02)
7) Fair Weather Friend (3:46)
8) The Sun and Moon (4:19)
9) Sunflower Eyes (3:11)
10) A Million Dreams (6:15)
Running Time (41:55)

Note: When purchased from KingBathmat's Web site, Crowning Glory comes with an additional interactive multimedia CD that contains a video, MP3s and plenty of other cool stuff.

Added: February 4th 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official KingBathmat Web Site
Hits: 3463
Language: english

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