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CD Review – KINGS OF THE SUN – Rock Til Ya Die

| 29 September 2013 | Reply

Independent, September 2013 
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Kings Of The Sun - Rock Til Ya Die CD


Originally published in X-Press Magazine’s 25th September 2013 issue – HERE

In the late 80’s and early 90’s Gold Coast brothers Clifford and Jeffrey Hoad strutted their stuff across stages up and down the East Coast of Australia and across the United States as Kings Of The Sun, thrilling long haired rockers with the swampy Serpentine, the pelvic thrust of Black Leather and the stadium rock of Drop The Gun – they had it all within their grasp, but the industry changed and rock was suddenly out of favour, leaving the Hoads to release a few albums as The Rich And Famous, pushing the music in different directions.

Younger bro Jeff has retired from the singing guitarist business for now, leaving master drummer Cliff to assemble a new KOTS (technically, ‘Clifford Hoad’s Kings Of The Sun’), and it’s a bloody beauty.

Opener Fire On The Mountain sets the tone for the record – hook-filled guitar rock that heralds not only the return of KOTS, but the return of big production Aussie rock n’ take-no-prisoners roll. It’s a clarion call to punters, radio and the industry alike – “wake up, get your act together, turn that Idol shit off and get into this!”

The old KOTS were different because they took Aussie pub rock, mixed it with U.S. stadium power and ended up sounding like something else again, and KOTS 2013 have built on that sound with a thoroughly modern attitude and production.

Hoad has this time around enlisted the guitar talents of Dave Talon – a stalwart of Brisbane’s cult favourites Rollerball – and Quentin Elliot, himself a veteran of the last KOTS line-up. Throw in bassist and producer Govinda Doyle, and you have a dream team.

While Cliff’s vocals lack the raw sexuality and strut of his brother’s, they boast an authentic bluesy rasp and work especially well on balls out rockers Rockpile, Switchblade Knife and the more reflective Rock Til Ya Die and closer Tighten Your Grip.

Geronimo outstays its welcome despite a catchy refrain, but overall the quality on offer is well above expectations – Follow You Home has a lazy Sunday arvo feel to it with some exceptional hooks and Led Zeppelinesque riffing; Hearts Ablaze is simply scorching throughout, especially when Talon and Elliot trade incendiary licks; and the triple-panel fold-out cover is a classic, featuring Hoad drumming atop a giant skull against an outback vista, with power plants, lava, Ned Kelly, kangaroos and the rest of the band thrown in to great effect.

Be warned – Rock Til Ya Die is a grower. You’ll like it on first listen, love it after 3, and only truly unravel the mysteries of the eleven tracks after living with it for a while. Once you get it, you’ll rock it til ya die.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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