Episode 122: We Are Kings and Queens
Air date: 10.15.2014
Crafting an album that defines a decade isn’t an easy thing to do, but Radiohead most definitely raised the bar for all modern rock bands when they released OK Computer in 1997. The band had worked up to that wildly creative period over two previous albums, starting as a more straight-ahead British band before evolving into something wholly new. Eventually, it seems that Radiohead got bored with being Radiohead and completely cast away their guitar-driven origins and focused on experimental music. But what if OK Computer was the starting point for a band that never lost its romance with the guitar? Los Angeles’ We Are Kings And Queens wears their Radiohead influence proudly, and they’ve got the atmospheric songs and musical chops to live up to the inevitable comparisons. Guitarist Benjamin Hancock has the prerequisite colossal pedalboard that is essential for conjuring otherworldly soundscapes, and he uses it with a deft touch. The band’s hypnotic drums and bass provide the perfect rhythmic counterpoint to vocalist Jonathan Mahan’s emotional tenor. We Are Kings And Queens know the value of juxtaposing a brooding melody with the roar of a dynamic and anthemic arrangement, and the band has the rare mixture of courage and talent to create music that is at once beautiful and powerful.