King's X
Tape Head


4.0
excellent

Review

by SitarHero USER (33 Reviews)
January 23rd, 2012 | 21 replies | 2,788 views


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A return to form for possibly the most under-rated hard rock band in the world.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

While King’s X’s previous album, ‘Ear Candy’ wasn’t exactly a mis-step, it was a step away from the band’s trademark sound. The guitars were softer and janglier, there were were no heavy riffs, and the music favoured the psychedelic side of the band, paying homage in a way to their Beatles-ian influences, while downplaying the rest of their very diverse influences. ‘Tape Head’ is a return to form for the band, and while it isn’t nearly as good as the classic ‘Dogman’ or ‘Gretchen Goes to Nebraska’ or even the somewhat overlooked self-titled album, it shows a band comfortably and gracefully settling into middle-age and almost effortlessly turning out hard rock gems.

Some of the changes in the band that were apparent from ‘Ear Candy’ persist in ‘Tape Head’. For instance, apart from 'World' the entire album grooves at a mid to slow tempo. There are heavy riffs galore on this record, but even when the guitars are heavy the pace doesn't pick up which makes the songs groove more than they rock. The opener sets the tone of the album with its circular ascending riff and is even called ‘Groove Machine’.

Even vocally the band is far more laidback than on their classic records. Almost all the lead vocals this time around are handled by bassist Doug Pinnick with support from the harmonies of guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill. This is a big change from ‘Ear Candy’ where Pinnick and Tabor split lead vocal duties and a return to the ‘Dogman’ aesthetic where Pinnick handled all the lead vocals. However, Pinnick rarely stretches himself the way fans of the band are used to. His vocal turns are extremely soulful but all of them are in the mid-range of his voice except for the return of his Smokey Robinson-ish falsetto on ‘Little Bit of Soul’. The only Tabor lead vocal turn on the album is ‘Ocean’ which is predictably the most psychedelic song here.

The end result of this mid-tempo grooviness combined with a lack of vocal gymnastics and vocal diversity on the album may be a turn off for some. However, King’s X still manages to crank out a few understated classics on this album. While the 1-2 punch of ‘Groove Machine’ and ‘Fade’ are the most immediate and catchy things on the album, the slow-burning charm of the rest of the record shines through eventually with ‘Little Bit of Soul’ being a standout track and the joyous 'World' providing a nice counterpoint to the rest of the album. The only real mis-step is the gag at the end with Wally Farkas. Otherwise, this is a consistent and melodic hard rock album which may seem a trifle workmanlike when compared with the rest of King’s X’s body of work, but not when taken by itself.

Highlights:
Fade
Little Bit of Soul
Higher than God
World



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2012



5918 Comments


excellent review, pos.

Great band.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

Acanthus
January 23rd 2012



9537 Comments


misstep

You use this, than later change it to this mis-step.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

SitarHero
January 23rd 2012



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Acanthus: Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

@Voivod: Thanks! I see you been pos-ing all the KX reviews I've put on here.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2012



5918 Comments


It is a band I'm interested in, however something always comes up and i don't find the necessary to drive to get myself thoroughly involved with them.


Galactic Cowboys is a second example in the aforementioned respect.

SitarHero
January 23rd 2012



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hear ya. They aren't really 'light' listens for the most past. I recently discovered this band called Event. Their first album falls somewhere between Dream Theater and King's X in the instrumentation and vocals department. The later albums veer towards grunge a bit more but they're still good listens.

Horsehammer
January 23rd 2012



550 Comments


not most underrated

greg84
Staff Reviewer
January 23rd 2012



7315 Comments


Mad props for reviewing another King's X album. Great write-up.

The album's one of their better imo. Great stuff!

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

SitarHero
January 26th 2012



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this is was my original favourite. It was the second album KX I ever bought (after Gretchen) and sparked an epic spending spree on KX albums. :D

SitarHero
December 12th 2013



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

BUMP!

Niggaz need to check this shit out

Davil667
April 29th 2014



374 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review for a fantastic album. Groove Machine is such an awesome opener, just perfect.

SitarHero
April 29th 2014



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you good sir! I < 3 band so much words can barely describe it. I'm glad the review is good despite that. :-)

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

need to try this, only heard the first 5

Digging: Synaesthesia (UK) - Synaesthesia

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn, this is lots better than i expected, not in the league of gretchen but still decent

SitarHero
April 29th 2014



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it's much for straightforward than KX's earlier albums, but it's still got some great tunes.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well it seems better than faith, self-titled and dogman anyway, or maybe im just in the mood for this i dunno

SitarHero
April 29th 2014



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woah! You think so? Dogman and s/t are only shades below Gretchen in my book. I think I have this about even with Faith.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

never liked anything apart from planet, gretchen and s/t really, dogmans ok but i really dont like
faithhopelove, this one is actually tailing off a bit further in, started off real strong though

SitarHero
April 29th 2014



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Faith kinda screams '80s, but it's redeemed by the presence of It's Love. That song is everything I love about music.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014



15789 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cant really remember any of it i probly listened once or twice and forgot it, guess i should try it again

SitarHero
April 30th 2014



4603 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You should give Ear Candy a shot too. It's definitely the most unique of the lot, but some good songcraft there too.



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