King Fly - 2000 Aquamarine Scene

ARTIST: King Fly
ALBUM: Aquamarine Scene
LABEL: Ding Ply Records
YEAR: 2000

LINEUP: Anand Gan - vocals, drums, percussion, loops * Doug Davis - vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, accordion

TRACK LISTING: 01 January Row * 02 For Mrs. White * 03 Real Sour Soul * 04 Perfectly Good Job (Call In Late) * 05 Thought of It All * 06 Temple Ray * 07 Trying * 08 Mystery Girl * 09 Season of No Winning * 10 For Mrs. White (Acoustic Version) * 11 Forty Years Ago * 12 Believe


With a brand of alternative and left of centre pop/rock, King Fly are downright impossible to categorize and on the evidence of second album 'Aquamarine Scene', are sometimes as difficult to listen to.

The offerings on display are truly a mixed bag to these ears and display the intricate problems sometimes involved when a partnership between two creative and multi-talented musicians doesn't always blossom to its fullest.

Simply put, when the song-writing abilities of Gan and Davis are combined, King Fly are an exciting, highly original and listenable proposition; but when the pop sensibilities of Gan give way to the more abstract compositions of Davis, the result is a band wrestling between two different styles and struggling for identity.

The Songs

Ranging from the sheer pop brilliance of 'Mrs White' and 'Mystery Girl' to the strange and off the wall 'Season Of No Winning' and 'Temple Ray', it's clear this is an album of contrasts.

The first two tracks mentioned are absolute gems; 'Mrs White' (which is also represented in acoustic form) opens with a gradually seductive guitar riff and develops into a very enjoyable tune which shows the quality these guys possess.

Aided and abetted by a chorus and hook as sweet as anything you'll hear, 'Mystery Girl' has been a long time star on the IPO charts, and rightly so.

Other standouts for me are the well crafted 'Trying' which reveals itself as a real pop treat and 'Thought Of It All' which is built around a haunting yet effective piano opening and really shows the high standard of production and engineering King Fly has attained.

So if there's songs like this backed up by a first rate production, what do I have to moan about? Well, I don't think it's a coincidence that the standout tracks are the triumphant fruits of a collaboration between Gan and Davis. If the whole album had been of this standard I would have no complaints.

But the remaining tracks ('January Row' and Real Sour Soul' aside) suffer by being too lyrically and musically abstract. I just could not get into the groove of songs like 'Forty Years Ago', 'Season Of No Winning' and 'Temple Ray' (penned by Davis), while 'Perfectly Good Job' and 'Believe' aren't as melodically rewarding as the tunes mentioned earlier.

In Summary

That said, I have already mentioned how this disc displays the great potential of the partnership between Gan and Davis which bodes well for the release the guys are currently working on, but for a portion of 'Aquamarine Scene', I was left to ponder which of the contrasting sounds is the real King Fly.

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