KING FELIX - King Felix (Rock Against Bullshit)
Fans of expressive, high energy '60s and '70s Australian rock and roll will take to this, the debut CDLP from Sydney band King Felix. It recalls a golden period through distinctive songwriting and an inherent Australian rock sensibility.
This four-piece group featuring former members of Sydney bands The Funeral Clowns, Roll Cage, The Hunchbacks and (the shortlived Roll Cage off-shoot The Freak Bros) combines their energy and some of their influences with a variety of roots music influences from blues, country and folk.
"Stalker", which opens the 11-tracker, is an energetic stomp, wherein vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Ned "Alphabet" Matijasevic reveals the secret yearnings held by stalkers. It's one of two songs reprised from The Freak Bros. The first of three covers, "Baby Let Me Follow You Down", was made famous by Bob Dylan and builds the energy with bassist Carl Ekman taking his first turn on lead vocals. They're shared between Carl and Ned. "Follow You Down" peaks with some heavily Stooges-influenced guitarwork.
"Suburban Angst"follows (Ned writing about the boredom and reality of suburban life for the unwed and the associated disillusionment). "More Than Anything" is the first of two excursions into heavy and searing, guitar-driven blues-based rock and was first recorded by the original three-piece line-up for their debut CDEP "Shape Your Mind". Carl Ekman handles vocal and songwriting duties and describes his strong affections for someone close to him, his feelings overriding those for others and possibly against his personal judgement. "Over Again" has Carl again re-considering past thoughts and feelings and their effect on the present and future, as the band display their liking for Crazy Horse-inspired guitar fuzz.
Some I-94 Bar patrons may be aware of King Felix's contribution to the "Happy Man" Sunnyboys tribute; "Someone Like You" is a progression from their take on "Liar" and shows their pop side. The band's version of The Easybeats "Easy As Can Be" is quite unique and with the addition of more Crazy Horse-inspired guitar fuzz (and lead vocals from Carl), they stake a claim for ownership of this rarely-heard gem.
King Felix's other excursion into heaviness is "Housing Commission Blues", arguably the highlight and re-worked form their 'Shape Your Mind' EP. It's a cousin to "Suburban Angst" with great slide from Ned. "Good Authority" drops the tempo and volume but maintains the songwriting. "Strange Dreams" takes King Felix back to the garage with great harp from Carl.
Their superb cover of Neil Young's "Too Far Gone" closes the album and was a regular part of the band's live set in its earlier era.
King Felix's debut album is a standout from much of the output of the current Sydney rock-n-roll crowd. - Simon Li
SHAPE YOUR MIND - King Felix (King Felix)
From the ashes of The Freak Bros, have surfaced King Felix featuring Ned Matijasevic (ex Roll Cage/Funeral Clowns, Roll Cage) Carl Ekman (ex-Hunchbacks/Roll Cage) and Andi Jackson (ex-Brother Brick). Like The Freak Bros, King Felix draw upon influences such as Neil Young, Lou Reed and The Byrds for the four tracks that are "Shape Your Mind".
"I Fell for You" continues the mid tempo roots-based rock first demonstrated by The Freak Bros track "Stalker" and lyrically continues continues on from "I Feel Good" for an intriguing mix.
"Housing Commission Blues" might seem a musical departure for King Felix but continues the honesty, desperation and disillustionment of urban living that is manifested in an unique manner, when one resides in Housing Commission accomodation and where prospects are few and life can seem far from exciting.
"'More than Anything" closes the CDEP and here bassist / vocalist Carl Ekman takes lead vocal duties as the band draw slightly more on rock and less on roots music influences and surprise yet again.
"Shape Your Mind" CDEP will surprise those aware of each band member's individual musical backgrounds, but should nonetheless impress those seeking honest rocking roots based music. - Simon Li
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