FOUR KING ACE have released their first full-length album 'Never Aim To Please'. The South African four-piece lays claim to a heavy late eighties to early nineties rock influence and has attempted to drench this collection with it. There are some hits and there are more misses, but with a few beers, a dimly lit room that smells like cigarettes and a card game that’s gotten way too serious, you might overlook anything too off-putting.
Making a splash with a debut record is an accomplishment difficult to achieve, and when the contents are as on-the-nose as it is in this case, one can only hope for ripples.
The album opens with little fanfare with ‘Fooled Again’ and a track in ‘Better The Devil’ that leads with a riff that is way too close to something you’d hear coming from BLONDIE. From there it is much of the same upbeat guitar driven music heard way too many times already. Each track is comprised of the standard four piece rock set up with an occasional female vocal. There is a very slight reprieve from the straight ahead monotony with the sombre ‘Goodbye Hollywood’, a track that still feels too familiar. The songs are catchy if you leave them on long enough, however. It’ll be difficult to not be humming the chorus of ‘So Hard To Tell’ that features some of the best harmonies of all the tracks.
This album is held back by exactly the same thing that should propel it forward, familiarity. Each song reminds of something one would listen to with more eagerness than these songs can muster. 'Never Aim To Please' is primed for a live performance at a pub doubling as a music venue or a Spotify playlist at a party with too much alcohol and not so much for any type of active and engaged listening.
Russell Miller is the front-of-house/monitor engineer for Red Gate Sound & contributes reviews and an occasional snarky op-ed here at UNDERGROUND PRESS. If the music has a strong melody, a drive, or ambition chances are that it’ll have my attention. Knowledge. Follow Russell on Twitter and InstagramCheck out his tunes at SoundCloudWebsite: soundcloud.com/arkayem