After the recent review of the harmless-but-fan-friendly Scouting For Girls’ re-issue of their debut after a decade-long career, we’ll be more charitable to formulaic pop bands for a while.
Alvarez Kings make a sound that’s somewhere between Coldplay/U2 (stadium-filling Marr-ish guitar and muscular ambient synths) and poppier fare, and sing songs about love, and the ups and downs thereof. Singer Simon (which makes him sound like a sewing machine) has a voice that is a bit Sting-lite. So: a lightweight take on Coldplay fronted by a half-Sting.
The trouble with sniffily dismissing this kind of pop (we don’t listen to The 1975 for sniffy reasons but we suspect AK are similar) is that it’s nice to listen to, and people love it. It sells.
Alvarez Kings tug at the emotions and it’s a little uplifting, and they’ve put it together well. They’re not trying to re-invent the alt pop genre let alone the wheel, but it’s textured and varied. It’s perhaps a little flat but, its derivative nature aside, it’s not bad. Good luck to them.