Complete studio albums (and more!), part 8.5
In 2022, the “King’s” are returning, so today let us look back on some of their fine 90s output. 1996 was the year of Ear Candy, the progressive giants’ most commercially accessible album to date. It was produced by Canadian Arnold Lanni (ex-Frozen Ghost, Sheriff) and the songs were straightforward and hook-based compared to what came before and after.
Last year, we curated some King’s X lists with Martin Popoff right here, and he rated the single “A Box” in his top five. The version included on this single is an edit, over a minute shorter than the album cut, with the cut material being mostly outro. Dug Pinnick is always passionate but you can really feel him on “A Box”. “There is no room inside a box,” goes the chorus, and one has to wonder if this box is one to break out of, to retreat to, or both. The song gives voice to loneliness and anger, but also sings of “a place to run and hide, just a place to free your mind.” It is a ballad with strong lyrics, unforgettable melody, Ty Tabor’s signature guitar glow, and an absolutely wicked Jerry Gaskill drum sound, thanks to the magical knob-twiddling touch of Arnold Lanni.
One album cut is included, which is “Looking For Love” from Ear Candy, another one of its strongest tunes. This one smokes of anger and frustration. It also contains the key lyric, “I guess I lost my faith,” which is true. Dug was once Christian but left the church around Dogman. Yet it’s also melodically one of the strongest songs, which helps back up that killer Ty Tabor riff.
The non-album B-side is a rarity called “Freedom”. Unlike the album which was recorded with Lanni in California, “Freedom” came from a self-produced session in Houston. Sonically it does not fit with the boldly in-your-face Ear Candy, but it does offer another Ty Tabor lead vocal. It’s a bit more sparse and hard-hitting, but still boasts the patented King’s X harmony vocals on the chorus. There’s a cool melody buried in the outro too. Overall, it is not as strong as Ear Candy as a whole, but as a bonus track, it’s more than adequate. Ty’s singing will be the highlight for many fans as he really goes for it.
Great single, and thank you Martin Popoff for inspiring the purchase.
KING’S X review series:
Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)
Part 7 – Dogman (1994) + bonus “Pillow” promo single review
Part 8 – Ear Candy (1996)
Part 8.5 – “A Box” (1996 CD single)
Part 9 – Best of King’s X (1997)
Part 10 – Tape Head (1998)
Part 11 – POUNDHOUND – Massive Grooves from the Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music (1998 Doug Pinnick/Jerry Gaskill)
Part 12 – Please Come Home…Mr. Bulbous (2000)
Part 13 – PLATYPUS – Ice Cycles (2000 Ty Tabor)
Part 14 – Manic Moonlight (2001)
Part 15 – Black Like Sunday (2003)
Part 16 – Ogre Tones (2005)
Part 17 – XV (2008)