Sticks & Stones

Kevin Lee & The Kings

Sigus Records, 2017

http://www.kevinleeonline.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/13/2018

Though most of us won’t be familiar with the name Kevin Lee, the rock veteran has done much in his day as a major label artist in the early ’90s with the band the Lonesome City Kings. Nowadays Lee is aligned with The Kings, a group of musicians who have paid their dues in many underground rock bands, and together they are all keeping the spirit of power pop and guitar rock alive.

“On Top Of The World” wastes zero time jumping headfirst into power pop, embracing all the elements that made us love Cheap Trick, i.e. razor sharp guitars, melodic sing-a-longs and universal wordplay that could fill arenas. “Slip Of The Tongue” follows and is a slightly heavier affair, etching closer to grunge, but still with the melodic sensibilities and the pop leanings Lee has made his career on. nbtc__dv_250

The middle of album boasts some of the best tunes here. “Nothing To Lose” is scrappy, punky rocker, with syrupy sweet pop moments and a fun, memorable melody, while “Tell The Truth” is more indebted to ’70s rock and points towards influences like Tom Petty. Title track “Sticks & Stones” is a track the Goo Goo Dolls wish they wrote in their early days, but still fits in well with today’s version of modern rock.

The back half of the album is, well, more of the same, and that’s okay with me. “Alone” is a bit more subdued with a great chorus made for FM radio circa 1988, and “All We Have Now” starts out quite close to ’80s hair metal, but quickly moves into a more garage rock tune that could have soundtracked an edgier version of Footloose. Though most of the songs sit right around the three-minute mark, the closer “Hold On To Yourself Tonight” is closer to five minutes, and while not exactly a ballad, is as close as they'll get and even brings some keys to finish out the album.

Listening to Sticks & Stones is like going back in time to a period when musicians played all their instruments, wrote all their songs, and took these songs to any hole-in-the-wall venue that would let them play, only to sleep on someone’s floor that night and do it again the next day. It was a simpler time, and birthed plenty of great rock’n’roll, much like the kind you'll hear from Kevin Lee & The Kings.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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