Blueneck: King Nine

Subtle, excellent prog pop from the Somerset band.

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Three years in the making, King Nine was written at the same time as Blueneck’s last album, the instrumental soundtrack Epilogue.

Like Radiohead’s Kid A (a big influence), this relies heavily on texture and atmosphere. The album really gets started on Man Of Lies. Dark and foreboding, it doggedly reaches crescendos on its ornamentation – sweeping washes of cymbals and synthesisers. It’s appropriate that long-time Steven Wilson collaborator Lasse Hoile has designed the packaging and artwork. His moody scenes are reminiscent of Porcupine Tree’s Deadwing, and their faded, American-noir feel reiterates and reinforces the soundtrack-like elements present. _Father, Sister _takes a more immediate tack, with its kinetic synth backing, while Mutatis is a late highlight, its arresting percussion serving as the most stormy part of the album. Sitting somewhere between post-rock and electronica, King Nine isn’t the most dynamic listen, but the draw is Duncan Attwood’s taut, emotive vocals, comparable to Tim Bowness in No Man, or early Engineers. Blueneck’s aim was to produce “their most accessible and exciting” record yet, which makes this a success.