Remember that ad from Maxwell, the “blown away guy”? He’s sitting in an oversized chair, wearing sunglasses and the sound from the speakers is blowing his hair. Well, that ad ran in 1993, but if it were to run today, the “blown away guy” is probably listening to Little King’s latest EP, Occam’s Foil. This super-charged, high octane rock selection combines the heart, passion and thrust from El Paso, San Jose, Seattle grunge and beach blasts from note one.
All five tracks on Occam’s Foil trigger an insane listening emersion. “Hate Counter” has this guitar riff that just drills itself, only to be distracted by the killer vocals. With lyrics like “stock the cages if you dare” the listener is left head-banging and air drumming along to the pounding percussion. The double-vocal attack is an added layer, that really elevates this song.
In “The Skin That I’m In” it sounds like a few false starts, but the guitar bed stop and start is a fun way to ease into this song, only to do a slow dance with the bass guitar. The mood is a bit more melodic and “walls are thin, closing in” lyrics. Just prior to the bridge of the song, the guitar picks up and sounds like a bit flamenco, before jaunting into a rocking track. This song reminded me a bit of System of a Down with the dramatics and rock rhythms. There’s a gorgeous violin playing about midway – very Dio, too.
“Forgotten Mile” feels brighter and the guitar stretches into a bit more pop. At times this song even had hints of Peter Gabriel / Genesis vibe going for it. Such emotion! “Now I wander endless night and day” from Ryan Rosoff. “The Foil” is also a bit brighter and feels a bit more like the Kinks /poppy and the groovy swing of a band like Sublime. Crunchy guitars against lyrics like “keep it simple stupid, even that’s a risk…ignorance is bliss” This song really got me toe-tapping. The cello strings are equally engaging and the pounding drums really take this track to the top. The final track “Nerve #8” is an instrumental. And, as much as I wanted to hear more vocals, this frantic jam hit the spot. The song takes a few wide turns and the instrumentation just blew me out of the water. Completely unexpected for the final track on an EP. Wow.
Where to end? Occam’s Foil has it all – funk, rock, killer jams, strings and pure entertainment. Fans of System of a Down, 311, Dio, Iron Maiden and Matchbox Twenty (yes, even them) will want to add this to their Spotify lists. It just has little quirks here and there that keep each and every track super interesting. Even better, see these cool cats live in action. They put on a show just on their EP, imagine the thrill and the sweaty, raunchy ruckus live in person. Kudos to Little King – long may you reign. This band is a beacon of energy and 2020 is theirs for the taking.