KingBathmat - 'Truth Button'

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KingBathmat - 'Truth Button'

A fascinating and highly enjoyable listen.

How can a British band based in Hastings, UK, performing a style of music I rather enjoy and with such an iconic name as KingBathmat, have managed to stay below my radar for so long? Amazingly, they have released five albums before ‘Truth Button’ stretching back over ten years! I am really rather bemused to know this…

Under these circumstances I think it appropriate to continue this review by first quoting from their web site: “KingBathmat can resemble at times, a sonic expedition, a giddy aural excursion, visiting genres as diverse and contrary as the complex arrangements that inhabit ‘progressive rock’ interlaced with the cutting vocal melodies of ‘classic pop’ that then tear abruptly into an uncompromising sledgehammer heavy metal riff. A big old slice of distraction cake served with a buttercream filling of abstract and arcane lyrics on a bed of layered vocal harmonies that weave a centrally focused melodic core that lays a strong foundation under each and everyone of their musical emanations, leaving the listener to ponder “Is it an exquisite ornate Fabergé Egg or a crumpled up papier mache ball encrusted in Moomin juice?””

OK so far? ‘Truth Button’ apparently has an underlying theme of technophobia and social disconnection due to the ever-growing trivial use of modern technology. So, what of the music? Extremely eclectic: and if you have managed to understand what the band has said about themselves and their music, then you’ve really good quite a decent idea as to what is contained within the six tracks and fifty minutes that comprise the album. ‘Behind The Wall’ immediately brings forth Floydian moments mixed with shades of Spock’s Beard and heavy riffage, but the nine minute track is full of right turns and other surprises: not least the conclusion being played on what sounds suspiciously like a xylophone! Band founder, songwriter and singer John Bassett has an interesting vocal style and I found I had come to terms with it by the end of lengthy concluding track ‘Coming To Terms With Mortality In The Face Of Insurmountable Odds’…

‘Abintra’, ‘Book Of Faces’, ‘The End Of Evolution’ and ‘Dives And Pauper’ all draw one into their respective charms and levels of unexpected avant-garde weirdness and completely delightful tripperies and while there are undoubtedly psychedelic references present, the mix of these with gentle Porcupine Treeisms, heavy metallic chords and riffs plus beautiful sonic landscapes is absolutely absorbing in a totally barking sort of way! They’re unique and destined to light up your existence if you succumb to a purchase.

Me? Oh dear! Five previous albums? ‘Truth Button’ is a fascinating and highly enjoyable listen so it looks like I will end up doing an expensive back catalogue trawl…Damn!!

Paul Jerome Smith

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