Album Review: New Town Kings – “Reach Out”
Not to be confused with veteran punk band the Newtown Neurotics who hail from nearby Harlow, the New Town Kings are a reggae band from Colchester who first came to this reviewer’s attention via a compilation from the excellent Bomber Records a couple of years back and a few gigs around the area. Reach Out is their third album and their first since 2011’s M.O.J.O., and is a pleasant continuation of their earlier work.
Like both of its predecessors, Reach Out is nice summery reggae music with a political tinge to it, as demonstrated on the anti-Trump diatribe Borderline and the self-explanatory Why You Always Take?. British Summer offers a contrast by being a nostalgic look at childhood summers in the late 80s and Music is an ode to how, well, music, can make you feel better if you’re having a bit of a crap day, and I’m sure all of us can relate to that one. Yeah, it all does get a bit Hallmark card sentiments on songs such as Long Long Road and Fine Fine Fine but generally the quality here is sound enough.
Although it’s hardly breaking any new ground, New Town Kings have at least come up with a perfectly pleasant slice of reggae/ska which sounds pretty much tailor-made for summer listening and there’s certainly far worse things to be than that. Yes, the pace doesn’t really vary much (apart from Burn Babylon making a spaced-out excursion into dub which works well enough), but it’s all eminently listenable and for fun summer listening, sometimes that’s all you need to be.
Reach Out is a perfectly enjoyable slice of summer reggae music, even if it does start to drift into repetitiveness towards the end. I suspect that a lot of these songs will sound good either soundtracking a summer walk, drive, drink or BBQ, or in the live arena where this band always seem to excel. Definitely worth a listen for the curious.