The Future Kings Of England: Who Is This Who Is Coming?

The ghosts of the past haunt this regal band.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Enigmatic and creepy, Ipswich’s The Future Kings Of England have based their fourth album on a 1904 MR James ghost story. They keep the narrative vague, but it seems a professor finds an antique whistle and summons up an eerie presence. And an eerie presence runs throughout this intriguing, mostly instrumental work, which keeps drawing you back to listen again.

It’s laden with sonic effects yet maintains musical momentum, from the opening carousel music subverted by birdsong and the most ominous use of a loud steam train’s arrival since Bowie’s Station To Station, to its fade-out of cackling crows.

They’re clearly fans of early Floyd: the nine-minute title track swirls through echoes of, er, Echoes, and some of the guitar note-pulls are pure Gilmour. An alarm clock recalling Time then breaks that up, and Convinced Believer blends Sabbath and Focus. Elsewhere there’s a pastoral Wicker Man aura and doomy pianos, before the 10-minute centrepiece A Face Of Crumpled Linen twists and turns through a space-rock groove into a cascading climax.

This band is fascinated by the past but their bewitching spells feel timeless.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.