Starting with the gentle, 'I Work Nights And You Work Days', pure musical pleasure. It is captivating and I am lost in the vision of this performed with a full orchestra. A spine tingling introduction! Flowing into 'Cold Skin', the first single off the Album, which has different, sharper vocal and infectious indie pop hooks. It weaves gently, in and out of velvety textured tones and delicious basslines, to charming and upbeat foot-tapping, 'electo-country' vibes.
The title track from the album, 'Cannibals With Cutlery', is cut short, a thirty seconds teaser. I can assure you, the full version is amazing...so you boys better be working on that 'radio edit'!! However, I forgive them for the previous misdemeanour, as I fall in love with the changing rhythms of 'Besides She Said'. Laboured beats, giving a sense of an exhausted, end of festival inspiration. Continuing with the tempo changes and weighty beats, I have to give a special mention to 'Gasp', a truly outstanding track. Consideration is given to every breath and pause, holding your attention until the very last note.
Throughout the album, To Kill A King adeptly changes style, dipping in and out of soothing acoustics to subtle rhythms, to softer synths and tender harmonies. Before taking your hand and leading you into an upbeat and real dance-y pop flavour, like 'Rays'. A definite summer soundtrack and probably my favourite from the Word of Mouth EP, released last year.
Just when you think you have heard the best, the delicate 'Children Who Start Fires', captivates with its subtle tenderness. (How many favourites can I pick from one album?) They then drop in a few familiar tracks in the shape of 'Fictional state', which deals so beautifully with the desperation of today's society, put eloquently in to an epic and heartfelt, all guns blazing tragedy; And 'Family', a truly honest account of feelings about returning home. 'Cannibals With Cutlery' concludes, on the understated note of 'Letters to my Lover' (The Dylan Fan). A piercing sadness resonates through every word that somehow feels positive and hopeful, offering a taste of the future direction for To Kill a King.
Cannibals With Cutlery is chock packed with indie anthems. Whether it be the superb “Cold Skin”, with its insanely catchy melody and wonderfully upbeat, high tempo instrumentation or the rock stomp of “Rays”, To Kill A King are a band gifted with the talent of crafting a memorable, soaring track. They’re very much the sort of band who could light up a festival main stage and hold a captive audience in the palm of their hands, sheerly through their anthemic qualities. It’s not all just typical British indie rock fare on here, however, and the band are very much able to create a goosebump inspiring moment. “Fictional State”, a true standout track within the record, ends with a wonderful crescendo into horns and bombastic instrumentation which, although on first instinct leads to a bit of a ‘wtf?’ moment, is actually quite a wonderful moment of the album. Although To Kill A King have pop instincts, they never chase accessibility, or try hard to come across as a mainstream band. The band’s, often dark, lyricism (“I must make more friends/ So they’ll be hanging at my funeral” being a delightful example) sets them apart from so many of their musical peers who tend to sacrifice intelligent lyricism for the sake of catchiness. It’s a small detail, but it’s one of the many that makes To Kill A King special.
The vocals are have a lovely mid-paced tempo to them. Sounding a little like Britain’s answer to Matt Berninger, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow the instrumentation of the track is, ultimately, each song is anchored to the voice above it. This gives each track a steady quality and ensures that every lyric is heard. The instrumentation itself throughout the album isn’t just the standard fare. To Kill A King utilise an admirable variation of instruments and easily veer from acoustic to guitar/drum/bass and back to orchestral lushness, without skipping a beat. Every aspect of the album is pristine and no part of the record feels like it doesn’t belong. To Kill A King clearly don’t believe in sloppiness or lo-fi and one would be hard-pressed to find a record much more professional sounding. They clearly have pride in the music they create and they’re entirely entitled to.