The first album release from UK-based To Kill A King is full of competent folk with some forays into other genres. From their take on soul, evoking the recent sounds of Mayer Hawthorne, to more folk, retreading the recently driven paths of Mumford & Sons, these are certainly proficient musicians.

But as an album, Cannibals With Cutlery doesn’t really work. When we sit down to listen to an album we might expect some sort of theme, some design holding the disparities together. Here there is no theme but the band itself and because of this the record struggles to achieve an identity. This is perhaps the result of combining the songs from two previous EPs with newer work into one album.

That’s not to say that the music isn’t good. Each track is a fine example of songwriting and performance. There’s new soul, rocky folk, and an homage to Paul Simon with steel guitar underpinning the folk vocals. The album goes on to more obvious folk rock and contains some nice easy-to-listen-to ballads and acoustic reworkings of older songs, but despite all this musical proficiency, ultimately it lacks a soul.

The folk scene is crowded with bands composed of young men with beards, guitars and a story to tell, and here is another one. If you love the new folk scene then you’ll probably find much to love in this album. If you’re over the current folky zeitgeist and are looking for something new, you won’t find it here.

If you say a word over and over again it loses its meaning. For me that word is ‘folk’. I’ve heard it so many times, folk has lost all meaning. Now you can hear it again too.

2.5/5 stars


Cannibals With Cutleryis out now via Xtra Mile Recordings.

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