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KingBathmat: Truth Button

After contributing to Sea of Tranquility for more than a dozen years (including when this website was an actual magazine), I've been introduced to hundreds of artists I would not have otherwise heard. And though I've forgotten many of them, KingBathmat — an independent psychedelic/progressive/alternative rock band from England — remains one of my favorites. I'm still not crazy about the name, but don't let it distract you from KingBathmat's music, which is an amazing amalgam of hard-to-define influences ranging from Pink Floyd, The Beatles and The Beach Boys to Black Sabbath, Foo Fighters and Spock's Beard. It's all punctuated by mildly weary vocals that at times recall Brian Wilson.

Originally a one-man band fronted by singer and multi-instrumentalist John Bassett, KingBathmat has evolved into a trio that includes Bassett on vocals and bass, Lee Sulsh on guitar and Bernie Smirnoff on drums. And believe me when I claim these guys have built quite a wall of sound over the course of six albums — each sounding unlike the other. The latest release, Truth Button, is a concept album focusing on technophobia and social disconnection as a result of the increasing triviality of modern technology. According to the band, "Truth Button calls for the advancement of technology to be employed to make the truth more transparent as opposed to it being exploited to confuse, convolute and restrict us." KingBathmat addresses this theme through six songs with such titles as "The End of Evolution," "Behind the Wall" and the 10-and-a-half-minute mouthful of a finale "Coming to Terms With Mortality in the Face of Insurmountable Odds."

With six tracks spanning approximately 50 minutes, the members of KingBathmat give themselves plenty of room to stretch out and provide each song its own identity. Is Truth Button the trio's best work? Tough to say, as every album I've heard by these guys has impressed the heck out of me. If you're new to the band, start here. If not, spin this, but then revisit previous albums, including 2005's outstanding Fantastic Freak Show Carnival.

And them, before you know it, KingBathmat will have a seventh album ready for public consumption. In fact, the band's website indicates that one should be out by the end of 2012…


Track Listing:
1) Behind the Wall
2) Abintra
3) Book of Faces
4) The End of Evolution
5) Dives and Pauper
6) Coming to Terms With Mortality in the Face of Insurmountable Odds

Added: January 21st 2013
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official KingBathmat Website
Hits: 2558
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

KingBathmat: Truth Button
Posted by Keith Hannaleck, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-01-21 07:52:05
My Score:

KingBathmat are an independent progressive rock band, hailing from Hastings in England. Initially started by singer/songwriter John Bassett, the band have now independently released five albums to date Son of a Nun (2003), Crowning Glory (2004), Fantastic Freak Show Carnival (2005), which was my introduction to the band, Blue Sea, Black Heart (2008) and Gravity Field (2009). The 4 piece band comprises of John Bassett (bass, vocals), David Georgiou (keyboards), Lee Sulsh (guitar) and Bernie Smirnoff (drums).

Their sixth studio release is Truth Button and it sounds like another fantastic combination of rock, prog and psychedelic treats. This being the third release I have covered, I anticipated yet another rockin' adventure of sorts. I was not disappointed.

Based on what I have heard since 2005, Truth Button has more guitar heavy moments than any release yet thanks to Lee Sulsh. It is a very welcome sound for these ears. The band's ability to mix the harder and softer aspects together in one song is what will win you over. The switching back and forth and sudden time changes are what define it as a progressive work of art. For instance, the opening track "Behind the Wall," comes out rocking hard and was a good choice to set the overall energy and tone of the album. "Book of Faces" is a prime example of the switching up from heavy and dark segments over to more airy light parts that change the entire direction of the track. This is the most intriguing aspect of KingBathmat. "The End of Evolution" is more of what I have come to expect from this band, with my own familiarity of the music already locked in, it clicked in instantly. This is the KingBathmat sound that got me interested right from the start. The rocking melodic guitars, driving layered keyboards and a locomotive bottom end are what come together seamlessly to create their own special sound. The keys in particular add a lot of flavor to the tracks, with sounds varying from sounding like early Yes to equal parts menacing Phantom of the Opera organ flourishes. It's all quite interesting and fits each section of every track like it is supposed to be there.

As the album played on I found it increasingly difficult to choose what was the defining moment or what the magnum opus of the collection was. Every track is quality and prog rock at its finest. John Bassett is still the driving force and "voice" of the band and it his vocalizations that put a unique stamp on the KingBathmat sound.

"Dives And Pauper" certainly has its moments as well, rock goes into hyper drive on this one, and they never take their foot off the gas. This band could be anything they want to be with all the talent at their disposal and the variety of sound they can offer up in one track is very impressive.

With 6 tracks (4 bonus tracks on the digital release that I did not have the pleasure to hear) of prog complexities coming at you there is a lot to ingest and appreciate if you happen to be a discerning listener that likes something different at every turn. I think you are bound to find what you desire with Truth Button, just push start. This is an excellent album with true talent showcased in every song. A can't miss prog rock classic perhaps? In my estimation…yes.

KingBathmat: Truth Button
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-09-21 13:21:10
My Score:

According to their website, "KingBathmat are not beholding to a record company, a debt, or a self proposed obligation. They do what they want." What they want is wilfully uncommercial music which within single songs such as "Behind the Wall" tips a nod towards Floyd before wandering off into full-on metal territory. There are six fully-rounded songs for grown-ups here demand attention from beginning to end and have in every way whetted my appetite for the proposed new album. Very enjoyable stuff.

Oh, if you become a fan the band are giving away free music on their website. Give yourself a treat and get it.




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