Melbourne Reggae Rock outfit with NT roots King River Rising have released their new opus ‘Owe Your Own‘ and yeah boi they nailed it. Simple as that.
This offering from Ward Hancock and crew, delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, comes right out of the gate with pacy grooves, filled to the brim with horns and guitar over pulsating bass lines and snappy drumming that just makes you want to get up offa your chair. It is well worth the wait and shows a what a honed, mature and professional group of musicians KRR have become since their move south from Darwin a few years back.
With its release date constantly pushed back by the world-wide pandemic, extra songs have been added making the release an extended EP. Remixes from House producer B. C. Slumber and French Dub producer IndiDub enhance the playlist, shining a unique light upon the originals. The remixes really are icing on the cake, best enjoyed in wee hours to improve your chill – the word ‘expansive’ comes to mind with these alternate realities. A subtle acoustic version of one track has been slotted in as well. COVID-19 was good for something at least.
The first track of this 10-lister, ‘Beyond the Blue‘ sets the pace at the jump and it just gets funkier from there. Ward’s distinctive huskiness floats through this track, the lyrics inviting the listener to join the band’s party. This one is all about the rhythm of the soul that KRR seek to achieve.
“King River Rising now have an established sound that is very much theirs, but sits comfortably amongst the titans of the genre.”
There is no let-up with the next track, ‘Excuses‘, the most multi-directional arrangement KRR have produced to date – where is that bass going? The long way around the fretboard to get to its ultimate destination – Groovetown, baby. This is next-level stuff and very addictive. I can imagine listening to this in the main tent at Bluesfest. This track also comes in acoustic for your listening pleasure.
‘Lost to the Summertime’ brings things back down a tad, the five-minute track an instrumental for the first 1:43 before settling in to a steady and satisfying groove with minimal lyrics. A very chill breakdown in the third quarter will get you swaying out until stumps.
‘Pull You Closer‘ starts slow, gets epic and fulsome, easily punching with the more established Australian reggae-rock outfits. Previously released ‘See More Sense‘ takes a more traditional reggae-rock groove-train with heavy and sparse bass and with more concentration on the lyrics but builds rock-heavy towards the end – there is plenty for the band to say in this track at 6:06 duration – a work of art. ‘Fisherman‘, a cover of a track by The Congos, is a slow-burn minor chord classic that screams at the end with some excellent guitar work.
“One of the most rewarding, amazing things to hear is your song interpreted by another artist”
As stated, the remixes come in at this stage and don’t disappoint. Ward was breathless in his praise of the work B.C. Slumber and IndiDub did with his tracks. Says Ward “One of the most rewarding, amazing things to hear is your song interpreted by another artist…I didn’t know it was going to have that effect on me. How happy I was just to hear someone else’s interpretation of these songs that we have been pouring our blood and tears into.”
“I’m getting more into production. I was a lot more hands-on in the recording process and producing it”
The production in this EP is top-shelf and makes it all happen. Mixed beautifully by Ian Pritchett of Noisegate Studios (The Beautiful Girls, Bootleg Rascal, Angus & Julia Stone), ‘Owe Your Own‘ presents an exciting snapshot of the group’s musical trajectory and maturity. The awesome production fuses the chemistry that has grown in this band throug intense touring, writing and gigging.
“I’m getting more into production.” says Ward. “I was a lot more hands-on in the recording process and producing it. On that side of things it’s really stepped up. It was recorded over a long time. The drums were recorded one and a half years ago. We had all this time (with COVID) to kind of think about what we’re playing. We could really think about the horn arrangements and that sort of stuff rather than just having to go into a studio one day and try and bang it all out.”
Musically, the band has employed a clever use of space and air, harmonies and horns, snappy snare and deep, warm bass. The music is arranged artfully. King River Rising now have an established sound that is very much theirs, but sits comfortably amongst the titans of the genre.
‘Owe Your Own‘ is out now on Spotify and the usual streaming services: