Cillian King “Could Be Kings” EP – Review
A recently graduated UL music student, Cillian King has put that education to good use by releasing his debut EP ‘Could Be Kings’. Having been brought up on a steady diet of traditional music, playing the concertina from an early age, Cillian decided to branch out to other instruments over the past couple of years and has developed into the singer-songwriter that’s presented on ‘Could Be Kings’. He’s toured extensively with another Limerick band Hermitage Green and they pop up here to give him a hand on one of the tracks in this well polished collection.
The five track EP is bookended nicely with the lively ‘My Muse’ and ‘Little Wine’, the drunken shanty that closes the record and features the aformentioned Hermitage Green. ‘My Muse’ is an energetic number powered by driving acoustic rhythms and a lilting piano melody. A song about musical heroes and how they too have their faults (“within your hands your demons dwell”), it demonstrates King’s innate storytelling ability and it’s a wise move that his vocals are kept clear and high in the mix throughout the record. ‘Little Wine’ is an all out hooley that tells the story of bumping into an ex and resisting the temptation to contact them once drink has been taken – sure we’ve all been there! The presence of Hermitage Green on the track gives the song more of a live feel and adds to the party atmosphere.
Sandwiched between the more upbeat songs are three slightly more sombre affairs. ‘To The Tide’ sees Cillian wistfully wishing for bygone days. Opening with just keys, voice and sparse percussion, the introduction of strings midway through the song mark a change in tone and lead King out of his melancholic state and into a more positive frame of mind. The pastoral ‘Smile (For L.A.K.)’ features a breathy backing vocal that is barely audible yet adds depth and fortunately stays a banjo away from Mumfords territory while ‘The River’s trad rhythms demonstrate King’s musical origins while still sounding contemporary.
Overall ‘Could Be Kings’ is a solid debut; incredibly well produced with well crafted songs, it should act as a strong platform for Cillian King to expand his ever growing fanbase.