My Crooked Saint is a set of four connected songs by new UK band To Kill A King. You might recognize the name from Shakespeares Hamlet, but dont expect poisonous sounds to emit from this proficient five-piece, who in contrast trade in sumptuous melodies. Though now based in London, the bands roots are in Northern England, which lends a gritty realism to their music that reflects the people and places chronicled on the record. To Kill A King produces music thats not easy to classify, which is a recommendation in itself.
The lead singer and main songwriter, the expansively named Ralph Pelleymounter, has a mid-Atlantic drawl, a rich baritone personalized by slight vocal affectations that add color and distinction. For example, he pronounces “gambling” as you might say “Anne Bolelyn”. If you’re in need of a reference, think Tom Smith of Editors or (reach for your Wiki) the admirable Georg Kajanus of’ ’70s British pop band Sailor. The opening notes to Bloody Shirt recall the alien call sign from Close Encounters and are the cue for an expansive, melodic workout. We Used To Protest/Gamble is stuffed with wonderfully evocative lines like “She sings songs 60 years old, 40 years too late, resounding voice down our estate” that act as cues for a nostalgia trip tinged with regret. Family is the most complete song here, lovingly built from a soft opening into a resounding, horn-embellished theme and held together by Pelleymounters impassioned vocals.
The EP title references a character from final song Wrecking Crew who is always on the same bus journey. The song cites the hopelessness of addiction and how abuse passes down through families. Its the rockiest thing here and shows a harder edge to the band. Lyrically, this EP engages you fully without truly revealing secrets. The words are mostly poetic and emotionally charged while relating to the real world. Musically, the work is varied and well crafted with hooks that embed themselves with ease. Bring on the album.
Essential Tracks: We Used To Protest/Gamble, Family