Album Review: King Prawn – “The Fabulous New Sounds Of King Prawn”
King Prawn were always a bit of an oddity when they first burst on the scene around the turn of the millennium. In an age where ska-punk was generally regarded as party music for fat blokes in shorts (if you’re unfortunate enough to remember the likes of Spunge, you’ll know what I mean) their more hard-edged delivery and angry political polemic set them well apart from the hordes of Mighty Mighty Bosstones/Less Than Jake copyists, and made them one of the most genuinely exciting bands on the scene at the time (as evidenced on their Surrender To The Blender and Fried In London albums). Sadly, despite positive coverage in Kerrang! and endorsements from the likes of Skunk Anansie, a commercial breakthrough never materialised and they called it quits in the mid-noughties.
Recently reformed (though sadly minus notorious loose cannon bass player Babar Luck), The Fabulous New Sounds Of… represents King Prawn’s first album since 2003’s Got The Thirst?, and I’m pleased to report it’s a confident return to the fray. Maybe it’s that the emergence of similar bands such as Sonic Boom Six and the Interrupters in recent years has led to the band being able to fit into the modern scene a lot more seamlessly than they did first time out, but this is a good effort with plenty of calls to arms for these desperate times.
The growth of the band to a six-piece with a horn section now being added has also rounded their sound out a bit and definitely helps sonically, but this album still contains much of the anger that set King Prawn apart in the first place, with Numeration Dub being a fierce anti-nationalism diatribe, and Done Days shouting from the rooftops for the disenfranchised to rise up, while Colonel Panic calls for the youth of today to stop staring at their smartphones and get out and change the world around them.
This is a tight and focused album musically as well, and it’s little tricks like the poison waltz of Modern Cages or the sly steal of the main riff of Madness’ Night Boat To Cairo on No Harmony that help to keep you interested. Welcome back guys, we’ve missed you.
A confident return to the fray from King Prawn, "The Fabulous New Sounds Of..." is the sound of a band reaffirming what made them great in the first place while moving their sounds forward with the times. In an age where their anger and focus is arguably more in tune with the current scene than it was first time out, here's hoping this marks the start of a good long run for them.