Neo-psychedelic/garage rock, King Tuff is the alter ego of multi-instrumentalist Kyle Thomas. After releasing two outstanding records in 2012 with his self-titled record, and his sophomore ‘Black Moon Spell’ in 2014, King Tuff is back with a much more refined, psych sound.
‘The Other’ is a ten track, exceptionally produced and almost euphoric record. It basks in the light of psychedelia and dabbles with melodic vocal performances and instrumentals. When asked to describe the title track of the record, Thomas recalls that the track is “about hitting rock bottom… ‘The Other’ is basically where songs come from, it’s the hidden world, it’s the mystery. It’s the invisible hand that guides you whenever you make something. It’s the thing I had to rediscover—the sort of voice I had to follow—to bring me back to making music again in a way that felt true and good.” It is a 6 minute long, acoustic guitar led ballad of soothing vocals, and plucky acoustics bringing a euphoric, and emotional opening to the record.
‘Raindrop Blue’ brings shades of funk and pop to his style. It’s an enjoyable, and fun track. A complete contrast to the opening single with its melodic soundscapes. The track is powered along with horns and deeply layered instrumentals which blend to form swirling and hypnotic sound of pop and funk. ‘Thru The Cracks’ seems like a space-folk Ballard with an elegant instrumental performance and lyrics pointing directly towards the stars. ‘Psycho Star’ is the records cosmic giant. It balances psychedelia and neo-pop in a subtle yet perfected manor, and with a catchy pop-like hook centred within the song, you can’t help but move to the groove. “The universe is probably an illusion, but isn’t it so beautifully bizarre?” he asks on the track.
‘Infinite Mile’ develops sound further with the introduction of harmonicas and their prominent use throughout the track. Again we hear loud, and dense horn sections within ‘Birds Of Paradise’ and they come in epic proportions. Blending with smooth and catchy vocals, King Tuff shines on this track. This redevelopment of sound and dense production and tracks allows for the music to come alive and, and brings an element of uniqueness to his sound.
‘Circuits in the Sand’ envelops a synth and acoustic guitar, with an organ being used as an atmospheric addition to the sound. It creates a rich sounding, apocalyptic feel, with the lyrics chanting “We all thought we found paradise in the Palm of our hand, But all they found in the future was circuits in the sand”… ‘Ultraviolet’ gives off a feel from that of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards microtonal works, with a thick and prominent riff which stands out as a highlight on the record. It’s sonic elements and pounding beats create a cosmic scene of psychedelic proportions.
‘Never-ending Sunshine’ consists of what sounds like a 90’s hip-hop synth that lurks within the chorus, as well as giving an extremely fun, psychedelic sound. It shows the creativity within King Tuff’s latest offering and makes this sound his own. The gospel-like, hypnotic final track ‘No Man’s Land’ ends the record in melodic and distant fashion. ‘No Man’s Land’ is a vision of the afterlife, it’s where the journey eventually leads you. It’s some other plane of existence that you kind of aspire to. It’s ending up inside the dream.” King Tuff say’s.
‘The Other’ is a complete turn around in sound from King Tuff. It shows his development, and progression with sound and gives off a positive change for the singer/songwriter. Confusing in some places, yet whole in the heart. This record contains some brilliantly hypnotic moments, which stand out amongst some of the best in his discography.
7/10 – Words by Piran Aston