It seems to be the way it’s going with more and more bands signing to smaller independent labels, shunning the majors, selling direct to the customer via the internet whilst producing some fine music to boot. Midnight to Twelve is the mainstay of Kord records, signed to a multi-album deal, selling their debut album as download and hard copy via their website. Gone are the days when independent labels produce substandard fare that merely mimics the mainstream. ‘King of Spain’ is without doubt one of the finest debut albums to see the light of day on an independent label.
This L.A five-piece-driven along by the exquisite vocals of John Hartmann-manage to combine a modern hard-edged arena rock sound with some classic rock touches, including keyboards, Bonham-esque drumming and Hartman’s bluesy vocals.
‘How Bad’ is a rip-roaring hard rocker blending old school and modern guitar riffs with the title track following suit but at a slower tempo. The highlights come thick and fast, with the energetic live favourite ‘Slam’ the hooky keyboard riddled ‘Rhyme and Reason’ or the stunning ‘Future’ rubbing shoulders with more aggressive and almost Nickelback-like ‘Contain it’, ‘Too Much’ or ‘Checklist’.
Produced by Sylvia Massy Shivy(Tool, Red Hot Chilli Peppers),‘King of Spain’ is more than just an above average album that will sit comfortably alongside the many mediocre yet canonized albums within your collection; this is the real deal, a real rock album made by real musicians for real people who love their modern hard rock. Unequivocally essential.