Welcome, audiophiles, to another Wandering into the world of indie rock. We will have to make things quick this week, but I want to make sure you get pointed in the direction of yet another great offering from the city of Montreal. These guys play a brand of indie rock that’s fun and catchy, but maintains a bit of an edge and delivers a good amount of intensity. They go by the name of King Karoshi, and they released their debut EP, Laundry, just a month ago. Let’s get right down to it shall we?
When I first heard this EP I was sure that it reminded me of someone familiar, but I could not quite put my finger on where their familiar sound came from. I felt that I should have been able to place the voice of rhythm guitarist/singer Patrick Dunphy, but there was something about it that was throwing me off. There was something about his clean, tenor voice that I had heard before, but he has a kind of slurring drawl that stood out. That slur has a way of melding the layers of guitars, bass, and drumming into a cohesive, driving mass. Upon perusing my library I decided that he sounds like the guy from Two Door Cinema Club mixed with a bit of the edge of the guy from Half Moon Run. Dunphy’s voice steers you through this EP with strength and character, providing an excellent focal point for King Karoshi.
The next thing that stood out was the layering of the guitars. Laundry is laced with some phat but crisp riffs that interweave to create some delightful polyphony. Moments of easy and light strumming are mixed with quick and precise picking. Crafty licks are backed by some pronounced bass work and punchy, rolling drums. The layers of accompaniment fall somewhere between the joyful, light-hearted work of Grand Splendid and the fast-paced intensity of Two Door Cinema Club. I must say, my biggest criticism of TDCC is that they seem to be constantly shredding, whether it be in the forefront or in the background, and it gets a little tiresome after a while. King Karoshi has taken that sharp, piercing guitar style but mellowed it out a bit. We get a blend of simpler riffs which allow space for the drums and bass (“So Little Time”) contrasted by some more intense solos and countermelodies which grab your attention (“Fading Now”). Even on a 5-track EP, this mix is critical to diversifying the sound of a band, and delivering something slightly different with each track.
If you’re looking for some indie rock that’s fun with a healthy amount of intensity and power, King Karoshi’s Laundry is where you need to direct your ears. Stream or purchase the EP on their bandcamp page immediately.