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KingBathmat - Son Of A Nun

KingBathmat - Son Of A NunIn the prog world, more often than not we rely on complex arrangements, Mellotrons and virtuoso performances in determining if we like an album.  If we are really lucky, such an album will contain memorable melodies and riffs and if all else fails, a concept or theme.  Prog vocalists, in all honesty, use their talents and invariably complex lyrics to illustrate the music but whilst some are good, others are not so good which is possibly why so many prog albums are mainly instrumental in nature.  For sure, the days of the true songwriter have all but gone and those that still exist have been in the business for many decades.  Until now that is.

KingBathmat is the project of London born John Bassett.  John was raised by an ex convent nun (thus the name of this album and humorous play on words) and a meter reader and left school at the age of 16 with, as he amusingly puts it, a degree in truancy.  He threw himself into music after having his heart broken and crushed by a German girl (women have an uncanny knack in doing that, but as one gets older you find they take your money too - OK, Iíve calmed down).  Now at 24, he has written over 100 songs, been in many bands and relationships that have ceased to exist and has decided to become a solo artist.

Son of a Nun is a collection of songs written and performed by John all of which relate to observations on life and his experiences often with a delightful cynicism, which leads me straight onto the lyrics.  In the good old days (if you are a forty-something) before John was born, we enjoyed the lyrical mastery of chaps such as Peter Gabriel and Ian Anderson.  Their lyrics were instantly memorable, used word interplay and told a story however weird.  The lyrics on Son of a Nun are similarly memorable, tell a story and flow with ease.  Johnís music and lyrical prowess brings to mind the talented Neil Finn, he of Split Enz and Crowded House fame, especially in the songs Not Born To Share and Weather The Storm.  But there are arrangements, sounds and styles reminiscent of other bands too on this album.  Can you imagine Porcupine Tree, Mr So & So, a touch of early Pink Floyd and a hint of Black Sabbath heaviness in places (Black Horizon)?  And the obvious Horslips influence in the rousing instrumental King Of The Fairies (John confesses to be a Horslips fan).   In a review of the album in the recording techies glossy mag, Sound On Sound, influences from Radiohead and Oasis are mentioned and whilst that may be true on a lower level, KingBathmat is on an altogether higher plain, more vibrant and lively.

Son Of A Nun is a brilliant album, debut or otherwise, and one that is going to be hard to follow.  Instrumentals, lyrics, vocals and arrangements are top notch. The good news is that John is in the process of pulling a band together for live performances and is almost there apart from a drummer.  Son Of A Nun is available via the KingBathmat website (link below).  I doubt you will be disappointed.  And with some 88 plus songs remaining in Johnís cupboard we shall expect at least another seven albums.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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