Rhythm Bomb Records
CD: 10 Songs, 32:05 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues and Blues Rock
On its most basic level, “basic” means “fundamental; rudimentary; simple.” In the two-thousand-teens, however, it’s become a derogatory term. A “basic person” is someone who only wears the basics in the latest fashion trends – the opposite of trying too hard. Such a criticism may be true but unkind. Consider Sweden’s Kokomo Kings and their latest album, Artificial Natural. It’s full of electric blues and blues rock, basic in the traditional sense. They cover several classic themes: women, drinking, and fishing (for women) among them. Nor do the Kings try any instrumental riffs full of showy tricks. This is manual-handsaw blues, not pricey-compound-miter-saw blues. It’s sharply-edged, with keen, clean-cutting sound reminiscent of Too Slim and the Taildraggers. They don’t break new ground in terms of lyrical content or vocal showmanship, but then again, that’s not their goal. The Kokomo Kings play foundational fare, and that’ll be enough for fans. Others might wish they’d added a little more barbecue sauce to their steak-and-potatoes style.
Their bio via Rhythm Bomb Records’ website reveals the basics of who they are and what sort of music they perform. “The band is a collaboration of some of Sweden’s and Denmark’s absolute top players. After years of backing a long list of international blues artists like James Harman, Mud Morganfield, [and] John Primer…they decided to start a new band and do their own thing. Guitar player Ronni [Busack Boysen] received the award ‘Danish Blues Artist of the Year’ in September 2013…Since the start, they´ve performed at clubs and festivals in Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Norway, France and Spain.”
The Kokomo Kings consist of Samuel “Harmonica Sam” Andersson on vocals and harmonica; Ronni Busack Boysen on lead guitar; Magnus Lanshammar on bass and rhythm guitar, and Daniel Winerö on drums.
On ten original tracks, they go all out in terms of instrumental intensity, with dry vocals that betray no trace of their home country’s accent. The title track is definitely a winner.
Track 06: “Artificial Natural” – Standards of beauty change over time, and in our narrator’s opinion, our current ones mark a devolution: “To get rid of their pale skin, get an artificial tan. To rebuild some of their curves, they go see the doctor man. He stuffs ‘em full of plastic, and he cuts’ em with a knife. That’s not the kind of woman I want for my wife. My women and my hot dogs – I want them with real meat. Fat cream in my ice cream, you know, that’s hard to beat.” With a catchy rhythm beat from Magnus Lanshammar, this is a naturally-danceable number.
Artificial Natural has basic blues, but for a quick stay at the bar or an outdoor festival, it’s the (Rhythm) Bomb!