April 21, 2020 Redlight King – Moonshine (Album Review)
The Canadian American Alt Rock outlet Redlight King is back with their third full-length album, Moonshine, via Parts + Labor Records on Friday, April 24, 2020.
A mix of Hip Hop and Rock, the band gained a good deal of attention back in 2011 with singles such as “Old Man” and “Bullet in My Hand” before striking charts again in 2013 with “Born to Rise.” Now they look to take things to the next level with Moonshine.
Led by Mark “Kaz” Kasprzyk, aka M. Rivers, the frontman utilized Redlight King as a beacon for the influences and inspirations in his life, and this album is no different. In fact, his father played a huge part in his writing process for Moonshine. Joining M. Rivers to complete the four-piece band are Julian Tomarin (guitar), Brian Weever (bass), and Mark Goodwin (drums) to complete the the ten new songs. So what does it all have to offer?
Overall, Redlight King’s Moonshine is an intricate blend of bluesy influences and storytelling on a level that truly depicts the band’s trials and tribulations over the years. The album emits an aura that truly captures the band’s essence and truth and delivers it in a way that they haven’t explored before. In an interview with M.Rivers he explained that “this new album is an extension of all of our personalities and the evolution as creatives” – something that rings true until the last note of the closing track.
The opening track and debut single “Lift The Curse” is a Blues-infused anthem that displays the band’s new approach and sound. It’s high-energy seductive riffs and gritty vocals attacks the senses and evokes a reaction in the listener, compelling you to physically connect with the song on a level that goes beyond just simply listening to it. That momentum is captured in the tracks like “Not Dead Yet,” keeping your spirits up.
Then there is “Long Way To Heaven” which slows things down, as the song is one of the first instances of the direct influences from M.Rivers’ late father. His father played a huge part in the preparation for this album, as well as other works before it. This is an vital part of his life that M.Rivers frequently pulls inspiration from, as his father is the one that first turned him onto Blues legends like Little Walter and B.B. King that would go on to become key influences for Redlight King.
Thereafter “Until You’re Dead,” “Working Man,” and “Highwire” have major ’70s vibes. The melodies and riffs featured in “Working Man” sound as if they could have come straight off a vintage record, dusted off from the back of that quirky record store in town in the best possible way. What Redlight King does best is using their inspiration as a steppingstone instead of a full blueprint, taking the best parts of the music that touches them and turning it on its head. Creating something original and truly one-of-a-kind.
Creeping towards the end, “Something to Die For” abruptly mellows things out before jumping into the funky melodies and smooth vocal prowess of “Don’t Drink the Water.” This is while “Ain’t Goin’ Easy” serves as a headstrong Power Rock anthem before the soulful “Nobody Wins” takes it on home.
In the end, Redlight King outdo themselves with this record. A soulful homage to vintage Rock with a modern twist, Moonshine is the best depiction of how to blend influences with your own originality to create a something spectacular. For these reasons Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.