Reaching For The Light is an album with a beginning, a middle and end. Like an elite track athlete, King King burst out of the blocks, consolidate in the middle of the race, cruising, before making a final push for the line. The band have maintained the spirit of their first two albums, Take My Hand and Standing In The Shadows, but this time around things feel that little bit brighter, tougher, crisper.
Opener ‘Hurricane’ rocks out of the speakers in a manner that recalls the bluesy best ofNimmo mixing acoustic-sounding rhythm guitar and a piercing electric solo. ‘Waking Up’ then takes an even firmer grip with a simple, stomping beat from Wayne Proctor and bubbling bass from Lindsay Coulson. It’s an opening trio of songs that announces the presence of a band at the top of their game.
Whitesnake in their Moody and Marsden heyday, swiftly followed by the
breezy, swaying ‘You Stopped The Rain', with Alan
|Alan Nimmo caught in the act of soloing|
They shift through the gears in the middle section, exploring different dynamics with occasional surges of power in ‘Rush Hour’, contrasting with ringing chords and Bob Fridzema’s swirling Hammond on ‘Crazy’, and the more delicate, keyboard-led, ‘Lay With Me’.
The final third of the album features yet another of the band’s impeccable choices of cover, in this instance Paul Carrack’s ‘Just A Little Lie’, co-written with Charlie Dore. It’s a perfect fit for Nimmo’s voice and the band's typical lyrical themes, coloured with funk tones and grooves from all concerned.
They bring the curtain down with ‘Stranger To Love’, the kind of soulful epic that showcases the band’s use of light and shade, building from a brooding start to a rocky peak, then cooling off with an Alan Nimmo guitar solo ahead of a mountainous finish.
Some of these songs are grabbers, some are growers, but overall this set demonstrates once again that King King are the kind of band that can’t be defined with simple labels. Blues-rock isn’t an adequate description for the soulfulness and subtlety they bring to the table, any more than it was for Bad Company. Existing fans will need no convincing from me – this album continues the band’s run of form. There may not be anything here as utterly hypnotic as ‘Long History Of Love’, but Reaching For The Light cements King King’s position at the top of the tree.