I feel terrible. This vinyl record has been sitting on my desk for months. I was so honored that someone sent me a vinyl copy of a release to review because I know making vinyl is not cheap and shipping it across the country costs a pretty penny. Even with this knowledge, this album has been sitting on my desk and I just haven’t felt the urge to review it– until now. I truly believe that the albums sitting on my desk and on my ever-growing list of submissions speak to me so let’s see why André Salvador and the Von Kings’ self-titled album is speaking to me tonight.
As soon as “I Love You (Don’t Laugh)” started pumping through my speakers, I couldn’t help but get a feel-good feeling. The bassline on this opening track is groovy and the vocals are cool, calm, and collected but still have an edge to them. The laid back tempo was just what I needed for this sleepy Tuesday night. I was really starting to get into the groovy beat when “Runaway Schemes” butted in and brought with it an almost jazz-influenced sound. I’m quickly realizing why this album spoke to me. André Salvador and the Von Kings have such a calm vibe but also a load of energy hidden in each track. It’s the perfect music to put on when you don’t have the energy but have a laundry list of things to get done. It motivates you but doesn’t stress you out.
“Something Nice” may be the shortest song on this album at just a hair over two minutes long, but it was an instant favorite of mine. Much like the previous tracks, there’s just something very happy-go-lucky about the vibe that this track gives off but something about “Something Nice” just really stuck out to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but the organ solo halfway through definitely might be an indication. Even when things slow down a tad for “Angel”, there’s still a very freeing feeling to the sound of this band. Even though Tim’s (aka André) vocals rarely change or show an impressive range (at least thus far), each song seems to show them in a different light and feature a different aspect of them.
“Pagan Prayers” has a very 70’s style to it which fits with the vinyl record perfectly. Some albums, songs, and artists are just meant to be heard on vinyl and this song is a prime example of that (hell, this whole album is an example of that). Although the beat picks up a bit, there’s nothing about this track that feels hurried or stressed and it still gives off a very chill vibe that Tim has completely mastered. On the other hand, even as the album slows down for the lullaby-styled “Second Sight”, there’s an undeniable sense of energy felt through the music and vocals. “Second Sight” definitely had me drifting off a bit but not in a bad way. My drifting off is just proof of the talent in this track.
The playful feeling of “I Know” made it an instant favorite of mine. My toe was tapping and my head was nodding to the beat as I air played the gorgeous organ trills heard throughout this track. The retro-vibe is strong with this song but it doesn’t feel redone or unoriginal. I don’t typically like old sounding music because I feel like, well, it’s old, but I like how André Salvador and the Von Kings take that sound and modernize it without losing the magic that comes with an older recording sound.
I was still nodding along to the infectious beat of “I Know” as it ended and made way for “What We’ve Got” which seemed to split the difference between the previous two tracks. It has that dream-like soundscape like “Second Sight” had, but the tempo and volume are closer to that of “I Know”. I wanted things to get powered back up to “Pagan Payers” but, instead, I got a more whispered feeling in “Bootlegs”. “Bootlegs” is a beautiful song and probably the most tender on this track. Even with this new sense of tenderness, the song is undoubtedly that of André Salvador and the Von Kings.
For some reason, “Season In Hell” made me think of both old school Rolling Stones and Christmas songs. Weird combination, right? And you probably think I’m crazy but listen to this track and tell me I’m wrong! The opening guitar part screamed “Paint it Black” but the scale being used for some reason reminded me of Christmas songs. Seriously- just listen. I was still trying to wrap my head around “Season In Hell” when “Joanne” took over and brought back a sound familiar to what I heard in the first couple of tracks. I’m sure there are other artists out there that do this retro sound but I have truly never heard anything like André Salvador and the Von Kings and I was captivated.
“Point of Tears” closes this album out on a beautiful note. From the beautiful guitar playing to the sensitive nature of words and the way they are treated– just stunning. Although I love the more upbeat style of some of the other tracks on this album, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this final track upon the first listen.
Albums speak to me. I know that sounds weird but I truly believe it. André Salvador and the Von Kings was just what I needed tonight and, although I still feel terrible that this sat on my desk for so long, I am thankful that I had it tonight and can’t wait to dig into André Salvador and the Von Kings some more!
My Favorite Track(s): “Something Nice”; “I Know”; “Point of Tears”
For Fans Of: Retro Vibes; Laid Back Energy
Daydream-ability: 6 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn Slept Upstairs; Artie Paced Between My Face And The Computer
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 6 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 7 out of 10
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