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KingBathmat - Crowning Glory

KingBathmat - Crowning GloryKingBathmat returns triumphantly with a new collection of ten terrific songs in Crowning Glory, released this month, January 2004.  It seems an incredibly short time since the release of KingBathmat’s (a.k.a. John Bassett) stunning debut, Son of A Nun , which has deservedly been gathering rave reviews around the globe, but John is clearly on a roll.

Son of A Nun was always going to be hard to follow.  Fans’ unfeasibly high expectations of follow-up albums are often dashed leaving them initially disappointed with their purchase.  With Crowning Glory, any high expectations are entirely founded, as all ten songs are as good, if not better, than those on the debut album.

From the first couple of notes on track 1, As Ever, you start to wonder if those high expectations you were harbouring were actually high enough.  KingBathmat’s music is difficult to categorise (though us music critics have had a stab at it) and so John classes it as alternative, modern rock, prog rock and psychedelic pop.  To be honest, each song has an element of all these genres.

John BassettThe instrumentation and arrangements on Crowning Glory are a delight.  On the face of it, the songs work because of their simplicity, memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics but concentrate on listening to the instrumentals and you will hear some very clever musicianship.  Sporadic synth washes, sometimes in the style of Mellotron, lend added richness to the overall sound and the guitar pieces are a joy.  Bear in mind that, as it stands, KingBathmat is a one-man band with John taking it upon himself to do everything - composing, arranging, singing, playing all instruments, production and the marketing of the finished product – and the result is top quality.  Listen to the album twice or more and you start to think that you have heard some songs somewhere before, and you would be right in a way.  You heard them when you played the CD first time around.  John is in possession of that art of song writing, which feels as though the music has been around forever yet, simultaneously, is fresh and modern.

If you purchase Crowning Glory via the KingBathmat website, you will also receive the KingBathmat Multmedia CD which contains 22 MP3s of tracks in total, including some that didn’t quite find their way onto the album, a selection from Son of A Nun and various demos, all of which can be accessed from the interactive menu which should show on screen a few seconds after the CD is inserted into your computer (to access the demos, click on ‘other stuff’ at the bottom).  Also included is a video of the second track on the album, The Final Star, plus, if your internet connection is live at the time, menu access to Kingbathmat’s website, messageboard and merchandise where the Mr & Mrs Beckham’s of this world can buy matching KBM thongs, mugs, T-shirts and other clothing sporting the KingBathmat design.

Crowning Glory lives up to it’s name.  Listen to it and I’ll lay odds (if I was a betting man) that a day or two later you will find yourself humming a familiar tune and then spending the next few hours racking your brains trying to work out what it is and where you heard it.  Ease the frustration and save time by writing ‘KingBathmat’ and ‘Humming’ as a reminder on a Post it Note and attach it somewhere prominent on your CD collection.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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