King Ropes are an indie/garage rock band from Bozeman, Montana consisting of Dave Hollier on vocals and guitars, Konrad Meissner on drums, Dylan Treleven on bass, Ben Roth on guitar and Adam Wolcott Smith on guitars and keys. Between them the band have some impressive names on their CV’s, having played with Katy Perry, Silver Dollars, Widowspeak and The Growlers. The groups debut album, “DIRT” features and eclectic range of influences, including The Pixies, Neil Young, Kurt Vile and Tom Petty and was release on January 10th.
The first tune is entitled “Dogleg Boy” and opens with a bluesy guitar riff with a lot of tension in it. The chorus brings some resoloution to the music, giving a great sense of juxtaposition. The lazy vocal melody and crunchy guitars here are really grungy and dirty, which certainly isn’t a bad thing.
“Lurch On Sister” sounds considerably more stripped back, focusing on the offbeat guitar riff which is supported by some simple but really satisfying drumming. The lead guitar, which joins in towards the latter half of the track, is a great addition. Hollier even gives off a hint of Dylan as he sings the hook “There’s nothing you can do/Nothing you can do about it”.
The tracks “She Says/Come On” and “International Shortwave” takes things down a notch or two for a few minutes, and while the change of pace is definitely a good thing, the tracks aren’t particularly memorable. Hollier opts to do his best Neil Young impression on the former as it begins to seem as if each track is an attempt to emulate the vocals of one of his influences, while the latter is a decent track but lacks any real sense of dynamics, meaning it doesn’t have as much punch as it could have.
“Mandolins and Gasoline” once again goes down the grunge route, with the quiet/loud dynamics between verses and choruses. It’s a nice track but similarly to many of the tunes on the album, it falls into the pitfall of following its influences too closely to the point where it’s almost a caricature of what it’s trying to be.
The final tune is “Rocks in Little Crevices”, which opens with a jangly electric guitar and a downtrodden vocal melody. A second guitar is added to the mix as well as some light drums, making it feel as if the track is building up to something, but it never comes finishing the album with a whimper rather than a bang.
There are a lot of good things about this album, the first half of the album shows off some great songwriting and there’s solid musicianship on show for the whole thing but I think King Ropes really need to work on their own unique sound and the use of dynamics, which could really turn them into a great band.