"Folk singer turned rock'n'roll for Lucifer"
For the first time since I've been listening to his music, I feel the above description, which can be found on his Bandcamp page, finally suits King Dude's style like a studded leather glove. I don't necessarily mean the last bit - His Dudeness has always been all about holding hands with the Devil. But Fear is the album which finally unlocks the real rock'n'roll in his music.
For those of you unfamiliar with King Dude, his music could be described as dark folk and it's mostly just him, an acoustic guitar, lots of reverb and unsettling lyrics dealing with the occult and feelings best left seeping in some deep corner of the soul. His latest album sees King Dude trade his acoustic guitar for an electric in more than one occasion and there's no denying that this is the loudest and noisiest his music has ever been. The groove factor is also turned way up on Fear and many songs, like Demon Caller Number 9 or Bottomless Pit, will make you feel like doing the boogie in a graveyard at midnight, dancing with witches and skeletons under the pale moon light. Other times, the music is strangely hip and radio-friendly, like on the beautiful and melancholic Never Run, a sentimental ode for the girl that's always there, no matter what. That's no surprise, as King Dude was always really good at conjuring fantastic, imaginary love stories (Barbara Anne from the Burning Daylight album is a great example, a love declaration set in a dark and gothic Wild West). The song which would satisfy the Devil's desire to headbang the most is definitely Fear Is All You Know, a menacing and electrifying piece that opens up the album on a threatening note and which ends up being one of the highlights of Fear and probably one of my favorite songs from His Royal Dudeness entire career. I probably shouldn't forget to mention that his voice is as gorgeous as ever, able to go from bitter rasps to loving whispers and always able to convey emotions and, more often than not, a weird feeling of dread and unease.
Barbara Anne, Lucifer Is the Light of the World, Jesus in the Courtyard and River of Gold will always be my favorite songs from this stellar singer and composer, but I'm happy that Fear has turned out to be such a good album, even though it feels different from his previous work. It goes through many different moods, from menacing to pretty (woah, I forgot to mention Maria, another excellent song from this album) to loving to depressing to eerie, but it manages to be a coherent and entertaining experience and a worthy addition to King Dude's solid discography.