King Swamp

  • King Swamp
  • King Swamp (UK Virgin) 1988  (Virgin) 1989 
  • Wiseblood (Virgin) 1990 

Here’s a sad tale of promise quickly squandered. Featuring bass-ace-turned-top-producer Dave Allen (Gang of Four, Shriekback) and fronted by wailin’ Walter Wray, King Swamp debuted with a brawny, exciting set of anthemic rockers like “Man Behind the Gun,” “Is This Love?” and “Year Zero.” If the potential for arena-rock bombast seems high, King Swamp is too much fun to worry about it. By Wiseblood, however, all of the worst tendencies in the band (reduced from a quintet to a trio, still starring Allen) come to the fore. Undistinguished, crass material would be tiring enough, but Wray bellows with the obnoxious panache of Roger Daltrey at his most operatic. Sad.

[Jon Young]

See also: Shriekback