Speaking The King’s describe themselves as ‘for fans of Of Mice & Men, We Came As Romans & A Day To Remember’. When their own description of themselves purely mentions their similarities to other bands, it is hard for new listeners to expect anything unique from their latest album Carousel (Nuclear Blast). The California-based quartet are certainly one of the least heavy bands on the Nuclear Blast roster and if you are expecting anything ‘brutal’ you definitely have the wrong band.
One of the most surprising things about Speaking The King’s latest release is the addition of an almost pop-punk sound. Although they have been described as a post-hardcore band it is difficult to hear that element in most of the tracks. It is almost impossible to call ‘Shipwrecked’ anything but pop-punk due to its happy-go-lucky guitar riffs and exaggerated nautical lyrics.
There are various points in the album where Speaking The King’s manage to build up the listener’s expectations, just to let them fall back down again. One clear example of this is ‘Caught In The Middle’: the group vocals and fast-paced riffs build up anticipation, only for the so-called breakdown to barely make an impact. The repetitive lyrics are far from catchy, especially the overuse of the phrase ‘oh no’. Oh no, indeed.
Carousel is another one of those ‘in-between’ albums: it is not awful, but at the same time there is nothing truly original about it. There is certainly something lacking about Speaking The King’s new release and it is hard to fully engage with the lyrical content. It is almost as if they released something which they thought would their listeners would want, rather than what they wanted to make. Carousel is an easy album to put on in the background, but it is also easily forgettable.