Kaki King’s transition from guitar godess to indie rock super star has seemed like a slow progression. And with each record her confidence seems to grow. Junior is her confidence at an all time high. I would never call Junior a punk record by style but the attitude is there.
Until We Felt Red sound King changing her sound, using electric guitars and singing, stepping outside of slapping and playing her guitar like a mad woman. Dreaming of Revenge saw more vocals and more confident vocals from King. The sound of the album was a fuller sound, like a band effort album. On Junior King grabs the mic and belts her little lungs out. And although a part of me wishes she would’ve stuck to a sound similar to that of Until We Felt Red, the music and songwriting on Junior are top notch. Listening to Kaki King through the years is truly listening to an artist gain confidence and step into her own.
Right from the get go Junior is a rock record. Again working with producer Malcolm Burn has paid off. The dueling lead guitars that play against each other on the album’s opener, The Betrayer, showcase King’s skill as a guitarist, well the track as whole gives you a sense of her growth and confidence as a singer, as well as sets the tone for the record. The guitar tones on Spit It Back in My Mouth match with the tones we heard on Dreaming of Revenge. Where Dreaming of Revenge drifted between instrumental pieces and King singing, Junior is King’s album to shine.
The Instrumental pieces on the album, EVerything Has An End, Even Sadness, My Nerves That Committed Suicide, and Sloan Shore, are all in the their own right beautiful pieces of music that almost make you wish this record were an instrumental record. The song Falling Day and Death Head are pure punk rock attitude song. Hallucinations From My Poisonous German Streets has a long pretty intro that lulls you into comfort only to crescendo halfway through and then dip back down where King’s vocals come in.
From production and songwriting to overall flow and direction, Junior is a hit on all fronts. The highs and lows balance each other nicely, and the album is enjoyable from start to finish. Another great album from a true talent.