by Kieran Cannon
Manchester-based five piece King Kartel have staked their claim to the rock ‘n’ roll throne with latest single Be Mine, a marked departure from the rowdy noughties-inspired indie rock we’ve come to expect. To celebrate the occasion, Manchester Academy will host a single launch party – find out more here.
These guys are no mere pretenders. After claiming top prize at the 2015 XFM ‘Refreshing Sounds’ competition they’ve gone from strength to strength, selling out shows across the country and securing a place on This Feeling’s ‘Big in 2019’ show in Manchester. Many lesser artists would be happy to stick to a winning formula; however, on Be Mine, the indie quintet have tossed out the rulebook and shifted in a tantalising new direction.
The 1950s are iconic – Elvis, James Dean, cool cars and the imminent threat of nuclear apocalypse. What a time to be alive! King Kartel manage to evoke nostalgia of that memorable era without sounding derivative, offering a wonderful contemporary spin on the tried-and-tested ’50s progression. Vocalist Hugh McCreesh turns crooner, yearning after a loved one while remaining defiant. “They say what we have it just can’t be / well that’s just cruel” he laments, but later declares that “someday I’ll be rich and famous / I’ll call on you“, urging his love interest not to give up on their chances.
Joey Williams’ punchy guitar riffs punctuate the verses with an instantly recognisable doo-wop rhythm while the arpeggiated choruses create a nice contrast. The triple-M threat of Mo, Micky and Mike – keys, drums and bass respectively – provide solid backing and depth throughout, dragging this vintage style into the 21st century.
There’s no question King Kartel have earned their place on many ‘Ones To Watch’ lists; the only question remaining is which direction their music will take. Whatever direction that may be, you’d be daft not to stick around and find out.