King Louie’s Missing Monuments – Painted White

Rating: ★★★☆☆

King Louie Bankston has been part of some great acts, playing with The Exploding Hearts and also working with the recently deceased Jay Reatard. It’s a pretty strong pedigree, and with Painted White, he’s ready to take the world on, offering up his garage-rock repertoire to the masses.

“The Girl of the Nite” jumps into the record with a pure power-pop guitar line, and a steady vocal approach, making the track a steady hit. But, as soon as you pass this tune, there’s an added gruffness that comes with the vocals on Painted White, clearing the way for a harder edge than many might be expecting.

For instance, “Victory Lap,” has this smoker meets alcoholic wispiness to the vocals, and I mean that to come across in a flattering way, as I enjoy that harder edge.  The song itself blends a bit of soft garage rock with poppier rock elements, but you can’t help other than to associate the music with a more punk rock element, sort of like power-pop’s answer to Against Me.  Still, if you’re looking for infectious hooks associated with steady beats, this record is full of them.

Personally, I’ve found a great bit of allegiance with tunes like “Black Rainbow.”  Bankston’s rough-edged voice provides the perfect contrast to a somewhat rock-a-billy/counrty tinge on the actual songwriting.  In doing so, it takes the song from run-of-the-mill power pop to guitar based jam. Similarly, “Nite Fall” has a barroom chant associated with it; the lyrics are simple enough to sing atop your lungs, and while the twang of the song it pleasant, it’s not overly intrusive, allowing for the occasional gang vocals (not to mention the regular ones) to carry the song.

Those of you looking for a faster paced in your garage-pop will find pleasure in the end of the record with songs like “Broken Hands” and “Hot Class.”  It’s not just the quicker pace of the tracks that will attract you, but the sharper influence of the guitars, using less twang.  This allows for these tracks to give a bit of momentum to the record that may have been missing in the earlier tracks. And it all closes with the semi-ballad “Dance All Nite,” which leaves Painted White with more of a traditional feel, in regards to modern spins on power-pop.

It’s hard not to have King Louie’s past in mind when listening to his current work, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Knowing everything that he’s been through as a musician, you can ignore missteps, or gruff vocals, and appreciate Painted White for what it is: a man having fun writing music.  Perhaps that’s the best thing about music of this sort, as there’s no pretension or scene, it’s just music. It’s good music, but it’s still just music, and it doesn’t always have to be taken so seriously.  So give this a go, and remember, it’s alright to just have fun while listening.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/01-The-Girl-Of-The-Nite.mp3]

Download: King Louie’s Missing Monuments – The Girl Of The Nite [MP3]

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