Superkings – Hit the Ground Running CD single

Hit the Ground Running CD single

With an EP or CD single there’s only a few brief moments to connect with and keep your listeners. When first popping in the Superkings’ single for “Hit the Ground Running” you might find yourself disinterested. Unless piano pop with soft, romantic cello and sweet female vocals softly layered behind a, well, odd and affected male vocal is your thing. Maybe it sounds silly, but Dave Wright (vocals/piano) sounds like he’s got David Bowie stuck in his throat. If you get past this – or enjoy it from the get go – Superkings has a lot of promise.

Superkings is a quartet from England featuring Wright, Natasha Cotton (guitar/vocals), Paul Hamilton (bass), and Pete Moody (drums). The title track of this single is very lush, Chamber-style pop that’s a bit morose – more bitter-sweet then anything. Wright, backed by Cotton’s whispery vocals, sings of the morning after: “’That was…something,’ she mumbles through a cigarette. Slips into her wedding ring, and breathlessly asks me to remind her where we met.” The song is dark, almost Gothic in feel and Wright emotes over his piano like a troubadour of the verge of a good cry.

The second track, “Wolves and Ravens” takes a surprising turn in the opposite direction from its predecessor. This song finds Wright channeling Johnny Cash instead of David Bowie. Here the band is more upbeat, with an underlying bassline that borderlines on funky while the guitar and drums spit out something more folk or country oriented. Despite all this, the lyrics – like “Ice is on the river, ice is on the river. Valhalla is calling and it’s an Indian giver” – evoke something entirely different.

Personal preference leans toward “Wolves and Ravens” as the winning song on this single, but it’s also obvious that the title track will garner many fans. Still, from just two songs Superkings is a band of strange juxtapositions that don’t seem to work as well together as they could or should. As far as a full-length effort, perhaps honing in on one style will bring mass appeal.