Review : We The Kings - Sunshine State of Mind
SputnikmusicWith singles charts becoming less relevant with each passing year, some strange occurrences are now prone to take place. One such happening is We The Kings' 'Check Yes Juliet' spending 17 consecutive weeks in the Australian top 50. What is so strange about this? It's still there... more than three years after its initial release. Riding on the back of an early 2011 tour and an advertising campaign for a local reality show, it seems that many Aussies have belatedly begun to enjoy the Floridian quartet's early pop-punk stylings. Those that delve deeper and listen to their energetic and likeable self-titled debut LP will undoubtedly be pleased with the consistent serving of irresistible hooks, tight musicianship, sincere lyrics and sleek vocals. Unfortunately, that album was released almost four years ago, and at a time when We The Kings should be reaching their peak, they now deliver their poorest release to date in third LP 'Sunshine State of Mind'.
To cut to the chase, not one of those aforementioned qualities prevalent on their debut is present here. This is very much a different band to the one who took us to 'Skyway Avenue' and pleaded with us to 'Stay Young'. With the opening two tracks both beginning with acoustic guitar, it also confirms that all notions of We The Kings being a pop-punk band have been dispensed with. The cheesy lovey-dovey lyrics of opener 'Friday Is Forever' reminds heavily of The Academy Is...'s disappointing 'Fast Times at Barrington High', which should not surprise since both albums were produced by S*A*M & Sluggo, the genuises behind Metro Station's 'Shake It'. Containing what is likely the catchiest chorus on the record, successor 'Say You Like Me' contains a light, airy vibe that hints at the type of reggae-tinged pop that Bruno Mars has made successful of late. It's too bad that its absurd "Woh Wohs" almost sink the song.
To this point in their career, the strongest component of We The Kings had undoubtedly been Travis Clark's effortlessly charming vocals. Here, they cross the line into unconvincing laziness, with the flame-haired frontman's performance suggesting he had somewhere else to be. Clark's attempts to inspire on piano ballad 'The View From Here' and strings-laden closer 'You and Only You' are in fact uninspiring, while he struggles to match his band-mates attitude when they finally break out of their slumber on energetic throwback 'Kiss Me Last'. There is thankfully a late infusion of energy as the album proceeds, with 'The Secret to New York' getting the balance about right in a safe and inoffensive way. However, even that does not always turn out for the best as can be heard on the excruciating - and creepy - 'Sleep With Me', which comes off like the bastard step-child of the aforementioned 'Shake It' and a rejected cut from Weezer's 'Raditude'....full text
MushroomgroupWith their first major hit single in Australia, “Check Yes Juliet” having just gone to the top of the charts and being well on the way to Platinum + sales, the time is perfectly right for a new single for Florida’s WE THE KINGS…. “Friday Is Forever” has already been added to radio all over the country including all the Nova’s and the video has been played by Video Hits, Channel [V] and Rage. Both singles appear on WE THE KINGS’ forthcoming 3rd album which is entitled “Sunshine State Of Mind”, released July 22nd.
Having just been in Australian in February as part of Soundwave 2011 and 2 sold out side-shows is not enough for WE THE KINGS and they have just confirmed they will be back with a double headline tour alongside You Me At Six....full text
AbsolutepunkWe The Kings have traveled down quite the path over the past four years. They hit it pretty big in the pop-rock scene with their debut self-titled record back in 2007. However, although this record put them on the map and made it seem the band could write catchy, summery riffs and hooks, these notions proved short lived, as what followed was simply a massive sophomore slump. Smile, Kid fell short of the potential held by We The Kings throughout 2007; it lacked the hooks and addictive choruses and placed them into the forgettable pop band category.
Now two years later, they’re back for another crack at it with Sunshine State of Mind. However, the only thing this record proves is that the path We The Kings have chosen clearly only leads to further regression. It seems they’ve taken everything bad about Smile, Kid and rehashed it, only to make it even worse, adding in unorthodox acoustic guitars with muddy vocals and production. What results from this sounds something like a mediocre local band of fifteen-year-old kids covering the mediocre style presented on Smile. Gone forever are the hooks that drove “Check Yes Juliet” and “Skyway Avenue.” Gone forever is the emotion contained within the mid-tempo rocker “All Again For You.” Even the interesting duet of “We’ll Be A Dream” makes no copy-cat attempt on this record – it’s all just gone.
So what does Sunshine contain? 1. Lame pop tunes that a fifteen year old could pen in five minutes. 2. Muffled vocals and dreadful production. 3. A severe lack of any emotion, passion, or drive whatsoever. And the list goes on. Take the opening “Friday Is Forever” if you need any excuse of how overdramatic and uneventful this record is: “Friday is forever / We belong together tonight / So come on, come on / Don’t you say never.” All of this is sung in an uninspired monotone frequency from the once talented Travis Clark. Where is the band that could write instant hits four years ago?
At least “Say You Like Me” has a somewhat catchy chorus, although it starts out failing miserably; on the other hand, “Every Single Dollar” proves that upbeat tracks do not always equal catchy tunes, as it lacks any emotional delivery at all and is just about boring as it gets here. Not only do the upbeat tracks not work, even the mellow and acoustic cuts do nothing for the listener – “The View From Here” is bland and insipid, the acoustic driven “Over You” inspires no reason to sing along, and sadly the final “You and Only You” does absolutely nothing to save the record, for even though he is accompanied by violins, Clark seems to forget the meaning of poignancy as the record closes....full text
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