Dreamy, surreal, lighter and sensuous with a heavenly like easy atmospheric blend of Dream Pop and R&B, which harkens back to the likes of such legendary artists as Sade, Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu and the late great Prince. That is how you can best describe the music of R&B/Dream Pop group KING. An electric-soul trio consisting of twins Paris and Amber Strother, as well as Amber’s friend Anita Bias. With Paris handling the production, while Amber and Anita usually handle roles as the groups primary singers.
On their appropriately titled debut album, We Are KING, the group blends an array of genres, eras and influences that serves as an introduction to the trio’s lush soundscape that’s like no other and really showcases KING’s relatable eclectic sound, which simply can’t be defined. The electic, neo-soul and easy-listening like sound keeping traditional R&B fresh and alive.
The groups retro-futuristic, dreamy-like smooth vibe with intricate production and harmonic lush harmonies is like no other out today. Each song giving a certain soulful authenticity. Their very retro-futuristic sound of their very standout lead single, The Greatest, really showing this. As over the antique computer game like funky synth groove, that is also an ode to the now late great Muhammad Ali, the girls three-way vocals are really able to shine with an exude serene composure that also doesn’t feel like it’s threatening. As they sing, “Who wants a run with the No. 1?”
We Are KING is also an album is which escape into time and space is one of the recurrent themes of the trio, like they’re in their own space, sometimes out of this world. Completely lost in time and space. This is extremely first evident on the album’s third record, Red Eye. A very ambitious melodically confession about the distance travelled since the songs made in KING’s spare bedroom. The twin sisters and Bias celestially crooning with their silky smooth vocals, “Catch a red-eye” over Paris’ loping baseline and layered keys. Thus turning the worst flight on a departure board into an extended soul-pysch fantasia hymn of expanded horizons.
Another key element to the album is love. Which is really showcased in the more middle part of the album with records like Supernatural, Love Song, In the Meantime and Carry On. A portion of the album which really glides through quite smoothly and really shows you how complex the trios dream state actually is throughout much of the album. Really letting the trio through the spiritualized keyboards and jazz of the percussion, tell their story of falling in and out of love. Also really letting the girls show off their silky-smooth, hypnotic vocals.
With its melting, vaporous lush loving harmonies and melodies that hit you from all different angles, showcasing music about love, languor and contentment, the album is one that is so thick, full and luscious, it may as well have come from a completely different planet. It’s the type of music that you could spend listening to with a significant other or someone you really truly adore and love or even for tender lovemaking or a soothing backdrop to an intimate conversation. Though a lot of the songs don’t really have a concrete beginning or ending, it’s an album that you listen to with a sort of smooth vibe, which really gets you in a good mode. Especially the way everything just melts so coherently and seamlessly into one another. More so a jazzy type version of R&B, rather than full-on pop, which you can enjoy from beginning to end. KING’s debut album is a sort of soulful ambient music, which takes you into a dreamy cloud of state that can make the feel of any room feel that much more pleasant. When you hear and listen to We Are KING, you can hear and see the smiles of the trio when they’re singing. Something you don’t think of to often, if ever, with any album in any genre of music.
KING’s debut album is one that represents, much of the best experimental synth heavy 80’s era sounds of Minneapolis during the height of Prince and The Time. Growing up in that area before moving to Los Angeles, it’s no wonder that sound is so evident on the trio’s debut album and why the late great Prince, who was one of their biggest mentors, would’ve been truly proud of. So on the year he leaves us in the physical, it’s only right KING continues his sound of what future-soul should now sound like and thus delivering such a timeless album, which will be remembered as a classic album soon enough. Not to mention if not the best album of 2016, one of the best albums across any genre for all of 2016 and why it very deservedly received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album at this year’s upcoming Grammys, which in year’s past an album like this most of the time wouldn’t. The future for KING is definitely bright and you will be hearing about them for many years to come.