Review By Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
KingBathmat is not a hard name to remember. I have this ability to remember every artist I have ever heard and did a review on but cannot remember a thought that crossed my mind 5 minutes ago.
I covered Fantastic Freak Show Carnival three years ago this month. I found that album to be a progressive rock-psychedelic gem and hoped folks would discover this multi-talented artist. His real name is John Basset in case you were interested. Blue Sea Black Heart once again captured my imagination, made me smile from within and kept me coming back for another listen. This album while excellent is a step away from the 2005 version of KingBathmat. It is more commercially accessible if you will, with more catchy beats and grooves that seem perfectly fitting for radio play while all the while maintaining the foundation of rock and psychedelic tinged progressive music that pulled me in the first time around.
Basset played all the instruments apart from the drums on "The World Outside" which was played by Bernie Smirnoff, who plays in the live band. "Blue Alice" is a superb opener finding John in fine form musically and with a strong appealing voice that makes each word that he sings believable. Somehow, he manages to keep on that track throughout the rest of the album, mixing the entire lot with rockers and shining almost ballad like pop-rockers with influences of all genres rolled into a tight and effective package.
"Paper Bag" I found to most appealing to my ears…it is jam packed with rockin' guitar licks and a bottom line that could not get any better, and in fact, the bass plays a predominant roll in the track at several points. Everything else in between is just as good. "Hello Algebra" closes things out; it is his throw in freaky Syd Barrett like prog-rocker that was reminiscent of the 2005 release. This leaves you wondering if he will revert to the more a straightforward psych-prog style next time out.
With fine a selection of eight tracks, KingBathmat has won me over again, particularly with the diversity he offered and his obvious talent not only for playing a multitude of instruments but his innate abilities to write a song that leaves a long lasting reminder in your musical taste buds.