KING’S GAMBIT: Around We Go Again (2021)

New studio album from King’s Gambit, folk outfit from the heart of England.

From the opening bars we are struck by the depth of this album. It feels almost orchestral, with its accomplished string section – along with a smorgasbord of tools, including theramin, harmonica and Congas.

We have here a six-piece band, each member multi-instrumentalists – with the addition of a host of guests.

This ain’t no folk punk album. It draws on the traditional folk of merry old England.  I’d be disappointed to find out they weren’t all wearing minstrels costumes and drinking mead whilst jesters pranced around during recording.

Whilst it sounds like it originates in a candlelit Tudour castle, the production is crisp, clean and unabashedly twenty first century. Courtesy of Max Read of Lodge Studios, who just happened to Tarantism’s Last Band Standing album. On times the vocals sound as if there is a small Choir in the studio, rather than just the band.

Their previous live album hinted of great things to come, and we haven’t had to wait long. This is a stunning piece of work that I fear will not get the widespread listenership it richly deserves. If ever you want an example that the relationship between talent and success is out of sync, look no further than this.

The seed of the album was planted before the pandemic, but with tender loving care and the right conditions, it sprouted and grew into this magnificent flower during lockdown. And the lyrics reflect that. Not songs about Covid-19, but songs reflecting on life, death, the human condition and love. They never stoop to openly singing about love, but we can feel it in there.

When we get a new album in our hands, as well as thinking about a review, we find ourselves picking which track to play on the radio show. In this case, that is quite difficult. It is, as they say, all killer, no filler.

We have lost count of the number of times we have listened to this and it just gets better every time. It is so complex, every time you hear it you will discover something new.

Sadly, the vinyl version does not feature all of the tracks on the CD version – so hey, vinyl junkies – buy both! But which ever format flicks your switch, make sure you play it on a decent sound system. Dump your phone and play through a decent hi fi – and play it loud. This is too fine a work of art to not be heard in all its glory.

Sleeve notes for the CD include dedications to friends and family who have made an impact on the lives of the band and are no longer with us. We think they are up there smiling whilst they listen.