All but forsaking the countrified roots of his 2013 debut, 1983, Austin, Texas singer/songwriter Chris King has taken a musical detour on his sophomore release, Animal.
Gone are the gutter blues of “I’ve Been Dying” and waltzing “Antler Inn Ballroom”; in their stead are the soul-inflected “Deep End” and eponymous opener which serves as a synth-laden preamble to King’s introspective lyrics. Remaining are the small town insecurities of the self-loathing “Almost Gone,” the solitary longing of “This City” and the feral mask worn on proto-rocker “Waiting on Myself.”
Rather than shoehorn heart wrenching lyrics into a specific genre, King’s musical cohorts play to suit his pathos and voice — a trill delivery that exudes doubt rather than leadened security — as on the warbling “Borderland,” the present passing by in the windshield. Highlighting the emotional pull of “Take It Down” and earnest closer “Martinez Social Club,” ringing notes and quiet beats add to the dramatic tension of King’s unanswered pleas.
By following his heart instead of any one sonic blueprint on Animal, King can add his name to the roster of Americana young guns that includes John Moreland, Caleb Caudle and John Calvin Abney who are scratching away at the honest truth.
Stream “Take It Down” below and purchase Animal from the artist.