When music is so catchy that it sounds like it could soundtrack an episode of The Real World, yet it also somehow manages to create a new sub-genre of rock altogether, this is generally a good sign.
Wow, I’ve been wading through a general gash of stupid bands this morning, so much was it to my refreshment, nay, bottle-of-water-in-the-desert-type reaction, when I looked on Wikipedia and saw that this Bob Schneider (I’m spacing as to how I originally heard of him… I go through so many acts these days) was from Austin, Texas. As a Northerner, I sort of hold Austin as that place I always forget about, and then when people ask where I’d live if I had to go to Texas I like to be difficult and say Dallas just to be a di**, but at the same time, as much as most hipsters of the early-‘00s I do adore the band Spoon, also happening to be quite possibly the biggest Fastball fan north of the Mason/Dixon line.
So the REAL treacherous moment on King Kong, anyway (beside that odd title, of course), the real delicate point at which the whole thing can either work or else collapse a la, well, every other fu**ing band I’ve listened to this morning, is the preposterously poppy “The Stars over Your House.” It works and… oh GOD why does it work! If I was one of those misnathropic metalheads of the late-‘90s or early-‘00s I’d be real pi**ed off right now. It’s not exactly the imagery (“The stars above your house / Tell me everything’s gonna be alright”), although that doesn’t really ruin it. It’s not the style (which like I alluded to before spawns a new sub-genre of like gentle, playful funk, which is indeed like a reindeer trotting just in time for the holiday season), but that doesn’t detract either. The drum sound is immediate — hearty but gentle too. Bob Scheider… I mean I’ve never heard of this dude. He sounds like the type of guy who would come to replace your heater or air conditioner. But he’s got feeling, he** he was born in 1965, and you know what it is that sells “The Stars above Your House” — the COMBINATION of everything, as if each autonomous facet of this music knows, in its own right, that it doesn’t HAVE to do too much. King Kong is not attempting to be the best music ever. He**, that’s a good thing, ‘cause The Real World got cancelled 15 years ago anyway (I think).
Elsewhere King Kong has Schneider approximating David Gray with the songwriting substance of John Mayer (that’s meant as a compliment, ahem), a character-laden and quirky voice over vaguely Mumford-like, pub-rock drums. He**, the fact that that doesn’t ruin it in and of itself should be a testament to the charisma at work here.