Listen: Roses Kings Castles

Roses Kings Castles, aka Adam Ficek, is mostly known for being Pete Doherty’s drummer across the pond in the U.K. He is also a DJ, which explains his interesting ability to craft songs that have two seemingly-unrelated parts and then sew them together like only a true Brit could.

His constant British colloquialisms come quite naturally, reminding me of the pleasant way that Lily Allen spews her lyrics forth with equal parts wit and venom. Ficek has an innate ear for melody, and in this aspect, there are shades of Paul McCartney present throughout his new EP, Apples and Engines.

In each of his songs, the listener is kept at strict attention due to strange and unexpected change-ups. At times, this just sounds like different snippets of different songs all pasted together, stitched up with a few rim shots and maybe an electric guitar. All the orchestral instruments give a majesty to the music, but it certainly isn’t pop — It’s not an easily-placed album, and the bombast that could serve songs with similar composition is lacking in this debut. It instead settles for being background music.

Most of the songs will start one way, perfectly happy and boring– and then jolt you awake into an entirely new and unexpected direction. For example, on “Where’s Your Life Gone?”, the second track, Ficek begins with strings, an acoustic guitar playing a nice three-chord riff, accompanied by the heavy bounce of an upright bass. As soon as you get used to this fancy little tune, it veers into a futuristic lounge song, perfect for those old 50’s sitcoms — it’s almost Jetson-esque in its creepy vibe, complete with flutes and xylophones pumping and floating. It isn’t until the final chorus that the electric guitar comes in and gives the song the extra push it needed; unfortunately, by that time, it’s already become more of a novelty.

I think the lesson here is that although the ability to do all these quirky little things is commendable, a little restraint might be in order.  For example, the trumpets that end “Somethings are Better Left Unsaid” aren’t necessary. Their lines could have just as easily been played by an electric bass or guitar and probably landed the song into some radio success. But as it is, this EP is destined to lie in an artist’s closet: appreciated by few, but misunderstood by most.


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