When you call your EP Very Cool & Groovy, you better make damn sure your music can back up such claims. Thankfully, Puppet Kings bring both in spades. Immediately, you can hear the bombast of early Guns N’ Roses, the sneer of vintage Metallica and the radio-friendly essence of Foo Fighters.
The urgency of drums from Harry Lehane on “Taurus” sound like it could have come from one of the first three Metallica albums and combine it with its gargantuan riff, you can tell they’re a big influence. Thrash metal influences aside, this is a hard rock band with mountains of groove. Essentially, they’ve taken the best from the best and moulded it into their own massive sound.
There is, however, a downside. Right at the intro to “Rich and White”, you’ll hear a familiar nasal voice. That being said, who else personifies the track title like the current President of the United States of America? However, it’s a glorious snipe at the 1%, their attitudes and comments and the cameo makes for a rather less-than-subtle joke.
Meanwhile opener “Wanderlust” almost lures the listener into a false sense of security with its no-frills hard rock sound. With some Slash-esque guitar work from Tom Cochrane, the groove takes a backseat before they unleash it on the following three tracks. By no means heavy-handed, it’s balanced well with its shoot-from-the-hip melodies. Having been together for several years at this point, the band are more than comfortable to push each other, as they each lay down their respective gauntlet to encourage the other two thirds to push even harder.
Bass lines come from Neil Sawyer in a thick, almost tangible sound and lock in with Lehane to further bolster the Metallica influence. You’ll be nodding along in no time with the aforementioned “Rich and White” particularly mired in the grooves.
As bands continue to fire out a similar sort of sound, the deft use of a metal influence brings something new to the table and separates Puppet Kings from the pack. There’s youthful energy abound baked into the music and it’s likely the coolest and grooviest thing you’ll hear all year.
Very Cool & Groovy is released 1st September