Firstly, I want to take you back to Friday the 13th of March 2020. Kingswood had just released their third studio album ‘Juveniles’ and played to a packed-out Corner Hotel, a gig that I was lucky enough to shoot and review. Over the next few days, the planet completely shut down. All travel and events were cancelled indefinitely, including the remaining dates of the Juveniles Album Tour.
Fast-forward several months later and Kingswood are back at it. Lockdown got their creative juices flowing and we’ve ended up with a new album of fully re-imagined ‘Juveniles’ songs. So, pour yourself three fingers of your favourite whisky, stoke the fire, pull up your favourite armchair and prepare to lose yourself in the infinite tenderness that is Kingswood’s ‘Reveries’.
Kicking off the album with a banjo twanging, slide guitar rendition of ‘You Make It So Easy’, the song is relabelled as ‘Heart Carousel’. With a change in tempo and sweet, sweet soothing vocals from Ferg Linacre, the opening track has a completely new feel. Right off the bat I had goosebumps, and if this was a sign of things to come from ‘Reveries’, I knew I was in for what I could only describe as ‘a blissfully peaceful cruise down the river wrapped in a cosy woollen blanket’.
Continuing with the campfire country dance theme is ‘Out of Colour’, a reimagining of ‘Juveniles’ third track, ‘Ready Steady’. However, the actual lyrics “Ready steady!” are nowhere to seen (or heard), completely changing the feel of the song. This change, and all changes on the album, are for the benefit of the song. The song is so descriptive to the point where I could picture in my mind a film clip to this track, where a guy is dancing with his love to an old timely bush dance, but he loses her to someone else. After the loss, he feels ‘all out of colour like the photo in his pocket, and he’ll never have another’.
The tempo takes another drop with the sweet sultry piano and strings rendition of ‘Bittersweet’, newly titled as ‘If There’s a Love’. Originally track 2 on the ‘Juveniles’ album, the song would not have worked in the same album position in its new form and follows on perfectly from ‘Out of Colour’. With a solo piano intro, stunning vocals from Alex Laska, and the expertly mixed reverb, I am instantly transported to a large classical theatre with a solo spotlight on a grand piano. Then suddenly a string section appears and marries with the vocal harmonises of Ferg and Alex beautifully. Honestly, ‘If There’s a Love’ is the epitome of utter harmonic perfection.
The standout track from ‘Reveries’ is definitely ‘Infinite Tenderness’, a stunning reimagining of ‘Cigarettes In Bed’. What was previously a punchy, high tempo feisty rock song is now a beautifully exquisite penned love letter to a life that once was. ‘Infinite Tenderness’ is a song about being content with life right now, but every now and then still finding yourself looking into the past. It is surprising how a fun cheeky rock song has transformed into a beautiful ballad, with a message that all the little things in life can strike some of the strongest and deepest emotional memories. Out of all the tracks on ‘Reveries’, ‘Infinite Tenderness’ is the biggest compliment to the songwriting prowess that is Kingswood. That you can take the same lyrics, strip the composition back to its core and still end up with a song that is both lyrically and musically stunning. Not many artists can achieve this, and Kingswood have absolutely knocked it out of the park.
On the very first playthrough of ‘Reveries’, I did find myself trying to work out which track is which from ‘Juveniles’, as each song is cleverly given a new sound, a new name and overall a new identity. However, once I got that out of the way, I soon discovered that I could listen through blissfully without comparing. From the changes to the composition of each track, to the track order itself, holistically, ‘Reveries’ is a completely new album.
So, how did ‘Reveries’ come about? Well, after a short discussion with Alex, I discovered that most of ISO was spent rewriting the arrangements. Then, “with a bit of magic and lots of whisky”, the album was complete in four days. FOUR DAYS. I am in shock! Not only was it finished in four days, but they also had members of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra feature on several tracks. Knowing that the MSO feature on the album both pleases me and gives me hope of one day having them perform together. Hopefully at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl where physical distancing can easily be achieved in an outdoor setting. I would love to bookend my time in lockdown with the last gig being Kingswood at the Corner Hotel and Kingswood featuring the MSO at the Bowl. Fingers crossed!
COVID-19 has impacted so many people and for the most part, the Arts Industry has taken a significant hit. Having lost their main source of income, it is easier to fall into a slump and get lost in the heartbreak of losing work. But ‘Reveries’ is a true testament to the passion and creative drive that the lads from Kingswood have for their art. It shows to us all, in whatever situation you are in, that if you harness the time you are given, anything is possible.
I cannot finish this review without comparing my favourite ‘Juveniles’ track, ‘Say You Remember’ with its ‘Reveries’ counterpart, ‘Remember’. The song is my favourite ‘Juveniles’ track because of its perfect vocal harmonies, but this is increased 10-fold on ‘Reveries’ with the addition of the high octave violin and low cello tones to match the vocals from both Ferg and Alex respectively.
I could honestly spend all day writing about the bloody brilliance of each track of ‘Reveries’, but I will not, as you really need to listen and experience it for yourself. And I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. ‘Reveries’ is a true testament to the fantastic creative range that Kingswood has, and is not only the best album that Kingswood have ever released to date, but it is the best release of 2020.
‘Reveries’ is available now on all streaming platforms with an extremely limited, 500 pressing limited edition vinyl available from the Kingswood merch store online.