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Kings, The - 1981 Amazon Beach

ARTIST: Kings, The
ALBUM: Amazon Beach
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 5E-543
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2003, Wounded Bird WOU 274 (2 on 1 with 'Are Here')


LINEUP: David Diamond - lead vocals, bass * Mister Zero - guitar * Sonny Keyes - keyboards * Max Styles - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 All The Way * 02 Amazon Beach * 03 The Fools Are In Love * 04 Surprises * 05 Got Two Girlfriends * 06 The Loading Zone * 07 Why Don't Love Do * 08 Equal Noise


I didn't know too much about these Canadian power pop/rockers The Kings before now. However, after reading their tale of woe on their very informative website, it would've been a wasted opportunity not to write about them, considering I had their two Elektra LP's in my collection. I won't waffle on too much, suffice to say that the quartet came together from opposite ends of the country: Vancouver and Ontario. They toured constantly during the late 70's under the monicker Whistleking. They had enough dosh to finance recordings of their first album 'The Kings Are Here' (or 'Are Here'), and even had the luck to sign with Elektra and have noted producer Bob Ezrin in their corner. That album did reasonaby well for a new wave/pop rock affair, but no so lucky with their follow-up 'Amazon Beach'.

The Songs
Circumstances conspired to make this album a disaster long before release date, due to conflicting schedules from Ezrin (he also had Kiss and Canadian folk rock artist Murray MacLauchlan on his books), too many cooks in the kitchen, and a complete reworking of the songs. By the time they made it to the ears of the Elektra suits, the lifeboats on the Titanic were being readied. When I listen back to the songs here, sure, the guys in the band were living with this material day in and day out. Sometimes you needed not to be the wood, the forest nor the trees to have some external viewpoint. I will say that the opener 'All The Way' has a very strange opening sequence. Bird chirps and motorcycles? What gives? Anyway, this strong organ driven track harks of REO Speedwagon, no doubt helped by Diamond's Kevin Cronin styled vocal. The title track 'Amazon Beach' sorta stumbles along, the lead vocal warped in effects, which didn't help. 'The Fools Are In Love' makes for a sweet acoustic sing-a-long, 'Surprizes' again re-touches that REO vibe, particularly the robust vocals and organ passages. I gave 'Got Two Girlfriends' a bypass, skipping instead to 'The Loading Zone', with more strange effect processors applied to the vocal. 'Why Don't Love Do' is a piano ballad straight out of the Zappacosta school of barroom jazz/pop. The Kings attempt to rock out of their malaise with 'Equal Noise', but it's all over before we know it.

In Summary
The band were not happy with the results, but strange as it was, Elektra gave them an opportunity for a third album, but not with Ezrin behind the desk. The Kings still play and tour to this day, and if you get a chance, take a read over at their website listed above.

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#1 | Eric on April 29 2016 14:03:52
Their 1980 hit 'The Beat Goes On/ Switching To Glide' still gets a lot of airplay in my area on classic rock radio.
#2 | Explorer on April 29 2016 21:47:06
Wow, had completely forgotten about these guys, still got the debut tucked away somewhere, and wasn't even aware they made a follow up record. I think I'll try search out the twofer on the old interweb thingy.

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