Little Red Kings
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Little Red Kings

Norwich, England, United Kingdom | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Norwich, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Alternative Blues Rock




"Album: The Magic Show Part One"

Little Red Kings
Album: The Magic Show Part One
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 9
In this era of being able to find ANY kind of music online, the concept of whether or not something is "out of date" is itself out of date. Rather each musical epoch is treated as a kick-off point for a specific sub-genre of popular music.

Take 1970s Springsteen with an admixture of Queen and sprinkles of Zeppelin and AC/DC, then add a phenomenally-tight powerpop production and engineering job to the music, and you'll have Little Red Kings. The songs are designed to get you moving, and even my old toes were tapping. Strongly rhythmic goes without saying, but there are strong tunes here too - the opener Harry's Town couldn't have been better picked from that point of view: driving but melodic.

They have their more laid-back side too. Weather the Storm displays a delicate balance of dynamics in both performance and arrangement that the earlier tracks don't even hint at. The vocal, although strongly soulful, is never overdone.

There's some real lyrical originality too - Peppermint, for example, opens with

"My mind is like a peppermint,
fresher than a fingerprint
at a crime scene"

You don't get lyrics like that every day!

The more I listen to the album, the more I get a sense of masterful performers brilliantly recycling the crystal essence of a musical yesteryear for modern listeners. I haven't heard anyone else carry out that difficult task so well since 10cc.

Not only is this a brilliant album of its kind (and is, with luck, well capable of launching the band onto the international market), but I suspect these guys are really something live. Highly recommended.

Bob Leslie - Fatea Records Magazine

"Little Red Kings – ‘The Magic Show Part One"

Long gone are the days when blues were the sole preserve of legendary figures like Robert Johnson and David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, the genre ever expanding from those deep roots as it grows and blossoms. Blues can be as much about attitude as the music, although some purists may argue, the sense of a real human connection that brings joy or sadness shaping the whole, regardless of any perceived strict constructs.

There are things that most certainly seem miles away from these pioneers (modern R&B anybody) but from the stripped down, laid bare acoustic guitar and voices of Johnson and Co through to the big band swagger of BB King or even newer acts like Joe Bonamassa, blues has many forms like saplings cut from that great oak.

No-one would have pinned Norwich to be a centre of blues in England, despite its rural and hand to the plough feel, but it has its fair share of outstanding artists whose passion for the music has a much deeper authenticity than Kanye and Co.

Along with the brilliant Dove & Boweevil Band, one of the fair city’s biggest talents are five piece Little Red Kings and with ‘The Magic Show Part One’ they have produced something that should rightly feature in the ‘Best Of 2020’ lists for many a music aficionado.

One of the best and hottest bands on the circuit, they have managed to bring the charisma of their live shows into the studio and produced something that has no uncertain amount of class and elan but also a real spark.

Opener ‘Harry’s Town’ kicks off the album with a bit of good time rock ‘n’ roll that captures the vibe of the Stones partying with Bad Company, frontman Jason Wicks leading the band with grit and swagger.

There’s a change of pace on second track ‘Almost Over’ as it heads down a joyful melding of 60’s and 70’s rock, the keys of Craig Stevenson driving and lifting the track as the guitars of Wick and Dougie Archer dance a mad dervish whirl as it reaches ever higher.

That’s What You Do’ is a big, scratchy bundle of wonderful rock and roll riffs and gutsy sound, played with a wild abandon that catches the spirit of their celebratory live shows perfectly and ‘Mama’s Boy’ is a slice of dirty, distorted primal blues that sounds like it was recorded in a subway.

Little Red Kings are never a band to rest on their laurels and when the beautiful ‘Weather the Storm’ comes along like a soul drenched kiss from a drunken angel you can’t help but fall in love as the piano and guest musician Rosie Toll’s violin wash over you. ‘Peppermint’ leans towards Tom Petty style Americana in its drive and none the less for it, Ben Beach’s bass and Harry Wickham’s drums bringing a tight but loose groove and ‘Lose the Light’ brings to mind the honest, blue collar rock of Springsteen at his rawest.

Yet another change of tack with the atmospheric, spoken word over lightly swinging keys of ‘Norfolk Border’, the whole giving a fantastically and haunting atmosphere to the piece. It seems like the blink of an eye when we reach album closer ‘Magic Show’, each track having blown by in a whirl of cosmic fireworks.

Tender and delicate with a sense of time and space, this is blues viewed through a curtain of gauze and is a fine way to finish one of the most compelling albums in recent times.

A box of delightful wonders, we look forward to seeing what Part Two of the Magic Show brings as we survey and wrap the riches of this release around us. As near perfect an album as you could wish and one that shows that Little Red Kings are destined for greatness. Blindingly good

Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM - Planet Music

"LITTLE RED KINGS – The Magic Show Part One"

Coming on strong, Norfolk quintet still have to define a royal force.

Since the release of their self-titled statement of intent in 2012, this English ensemble seemed to have been seeking identity which could encompass various strands of what the collective can do, and their third full-length offering finds such a search in full swing. There are clear markings of classic rock, and the five’s swagger should match any American Southerner’s ego, while the band’s sensibility bears a British elegiac restraint, and that’s the gist and the pull of it all.

Running from the airy romanticism of “Harry’s Town” where AOR is swiftly blown out of the water by catchy riffs and infectious chorus, to the multifaceted finale of “Magic Show” that suggests a vague concept to the album, most songs on display naturally gravitate towards a glam sort of stomp. Sure, it’s chilling to the bone when Jason Wick’s vocals are left alone with a six-string crunch in “Mama’s Boy” to mix the Wensum’s water and the Mississippi’s mud, but once “Almost Over” has betrayed the team’s affection for the ’60s rhythm-and-blues and let the listener rave up to the organ roar and motorik groove until AC/DC guitar filigree would signal the coda, the group’s genuine hearts start to bloom on their sleeve.

Whether it’s the sly delight of “That’s What You Do” that rocks with much panache or the almost a cappella onset of “Peppermint” which takes country sway for a suburban ride, there’s something irresistible about these numbers. Yes, the violin-smeared “Weather The Storm” may feel a tad lachrymose before turning anthemic, with luxuriant balladry hanging heavy, albeit alluring, at the album’s tail end, yet Craig Stevenson’s ivories elevate “Lose The Light” and chase away the sadness. Still, “Norfolk Border” is justifiably dewy-eyed – shimmering behind the half-whispered vocals and falling abruptly into silence to usher in the enchanting title track whose psychedelic layers are delicately peeled off, revealing the record’s cosmic core.

One more go at defining it, and LRK will reign supreme. - Let it Rock

"Little Red Kings – ‘The Magic Show Part One"

Little Red Kings are a group of dedicated live musicians based around Norwich. Their music combines a gritty roots quality with strong melodies and several elements of modern alternative rock. In some ways their sound and style are reminiscent of classic UK blues rock bands from the 1970s and they are a powerful force when performing live. They appeal to a wide range of audiences and are usually in demand for festivals during the summer months.

Having enjoyed many plaudits for their last album, 'Callous', their next release (due out on 29 May) is 'The Magic Show Part One'. It is another impressive album and should help Little Red Kings gain further recognition as the very capable band they are. There are many times on this record that these Norfolk musicians could be a top US rock band – maybe Aerosmith or Red Hot Chili Peppers. The material is strong, the musicianship masterful and production values are high throughout.

Little Red Kings deserve a major breakthrough with this new album - I hope this can happen for them. - Penny Black Music

"Little Red Kings – The Magic Show Part One"

Hailing from the English county of Norfolk is a band called The Little Red Kings. These five have been making progress since 2011 and have already built up a solid reputation as a live band in their own region. The band consists of vocalist / guitarist Jason Wick, guitarist Dougie Archer, bassist Ben Beach, keyboardist Craig Stevenson and drummer Harry Wickham. After a studio and two live CDs in 2018, their first in-studio studio album, called “Callous”, garnered critical acclaim everywhere.

The sequel has been entitled "The Magic Show Part One", which suggests that there is more to come. The album contains nine songs, which move in style between blues and alternative roots rock to try to put a label on it. In any case, the base is steadfast in the rock of the seventies. The album is very varied. The gentlemen can pull off leather one moment and then become thoughtful and lyrical. Especially in the first songs it is rough to slow down afterwards, accelerate again and finish reasonably. In any case, it never gets boring. I really like the songs “Weather The Storm” with beautiful violin accompaniment and the talking blues “Norfolk Border”, in which the narrative voice is reminiscent of Chip Taylor's.
Unfortunately, the band is not yet known on this side of the North Sea. Perhaps this CD can change that and when life returns to normal, the gentlemen will visit our country. They are absolutely worth it. - Barnowl Blues

"Album Review: Little Red Kings – The Magic Show Part One"

Little Red Kings,”The Magic Show Part One” (Self Released)- The future of British alternative rock is in safe hands as long as outfits such as Little Red Kings are around to ply their trade with such grit and tunefulness. The Norfolk based band’s deliciously organic approach to music-making has prompted favourable comparisons to everyone from Hothouse Flowers to The Black Crowes and there’s also an infectious melodic edge to much of their best work which sets them apart from many of their contemporaries in the field. “The Magic Show Part One” supplies an attractive introduction to Little Red Kings’ appealingly timeless sound, with “Weather The Storm” and “Harry’s Town” capturing them at their brilliant best. - Original Rock ​

"Little Red Kings – ‘The Magic Show Part One"

Little Red Kings – who’re they then?
I press play on the latest offering to be winged my way by a PR company to be greeted by a tastefully tuneful piano and vocal intro, and then . . . three tracks whoosh by in ten and a half minutes, borne aloft on a gale of song-led roots rock energy.
I still haven’t got down to the brass tacks of what the opener ‘Harry’s Town’ is all about, so I dunno anything about the identity of Harry or what’s so special about his town, but Little Red Kings make it sound like a good place to be. There’s kicking drums, rock’n’rolling guitar, sinuous bass lines and playfully delivered vocals, and ultimately a belt-it-out earworm of a chorus that collapses into a hollering terrace chant outro.

‘Almost Over’ eases into earshot with pulses of organ and throbbing guitar before opening up into another adrenalin rush of booming drums and a big, gutsy chorus. It’s a well-constructed choon, but the energy still bursts out at the seams until they rein it in for the bridge – and then it breaks loose again, tearing off into an anthemic singalong while some lead guitar bleeps away, making like Angus Young on the intro to ‘Thunderstuck’. Then ‘That’s What You Do’ has a subtly brooding verse, with a thudding drumbeat and eerily droning keys, before crashing into another mountainous chorus with soaring backing vocals. It twists and turns teasingly, thrashes along with a post-punk sensibility, and chucks some buzzsaw guitar into the middle eight to add some extra edge.
Who are these guys?
The understated cover of the promo cd, with its peculiar artwork, doesn’t offer many clues. I take a squint at the accompanying press release, but it doesn’t leave me much the wiser. It does tell me that The Magic Show Part One is Little Red Kings’ second album though. It also quotes some reviews that refer to their “consummate blues rock” and such like. Well yeah, I can see that they deliver blues rock in exactly the same way that Mott The Hoople – didn’t. Or the Faces, maybe. Or Springsteen, even. Or none of them. Point is, the blues may be in there, but it’s all jumbled up with other strands of rock’n’roll. Except of course, just to confound my argument, on ‘Mama’s Boy’ - a two and a half minute vignette of Delta-like blues conjured out of nothing more than spooky, scratchy guitar playing and haunted vocals.
Their rootsiness takes a different turn on ‘Weather The Storm’ though. The lilting piano and gentle elegiac vocal could almost be Billy Joel until it’s melded with violin (courtesy of guest Rosie Toll) to take a Celtic turn as the lyric starts to reference the Irish Sea and – if I hear it right – Tir Na nOg, the “Celtic otherworld”. Which sounds appropriately epic as the song swells and the story-telling becomes more strident, before subsiding to a gentle ending.
And the following ‘Peppermint’ gets similarly windswept as it builds from a suspenseful intro, surging rhythm guitar and more of that supple bass to arrive at another BIG chorus. And a rare guitar solo plays out against the repeated refrain, brief and spiky, cymbals crashing around like waves. Check out this acoustic performance.
Who the hell are these guys?
They get back on the rockin’ horse with ‘Lose The Light’, which teases again with a subdued
opening, all ticking drums and bumps of bass, before letting loose with a driving rhythm and dense jangling guitars, good harmonies and a romantic turn that sounds like Springsteen by way of The Gaslight Anthem – except British.

And then they take a sharp turn and head into left field for the closing two tracks. ‘Norfolk Border’ is all droning notes and hesitant piano chords as an ambient backdrop for a murmured, half-spoken vocal, like Roger Waters executing some minimalist tale of angst. Finally ‘Magic Show’ starts off in thoughtful mode, leaning on piano and organ, before swelling into a majestic chorus, then fading back with quirky squiggles of keyboards and more of that sinuous bass playing, plus effects-treated vocal interjections and some circus ringmaster declaiming taking it into Peter Gabriel-like dramatic territory.
The Magic Show Part One is such an eye-opening surprise that part of me doesn’t want to know – just leave Little Red Kings as deadly guerrillas of roots rock, who strike and then sink namelessly into the night. But nah, I’ve winkled out the info, so let’s roll the credits. Little Red Kings were founded in Norfolk by singer and guitarist Jason Wicks. Dougie Archer supplies more guitar and vocals, while the keys are courtesy of Craig Stevenson, and the rhythm section of Harry Wickham and Ben Beach respectively provide the skin-bashing and that springy bass.
Now, I’m not going to tell you The Magic Show Part One is some earth-shattering masterpiece. But I will tell you that it’s striking enough to have made me sit up and listen damn close – in fact Little Red Kings’ firing on all six cylinders commitment wouldn’t allow anything else. You owe it to yourself to get an introduction to these guys and their music. - Blues Enthused

"Little Red Kings – ‘The Magic Show Part One"

'The Magic Show Part One

'Little Red Kings last album ‘Callous’ was a veritable delight of blues, rock and gentler acoustic moments. Expectorations are high with this fan on any new music from the band. As vocalist Jason Wick explains about the recording of ‘The Magic Show Part One’ – “We recorded the album at Goat Pen Studios, a facility I put together here in Norfolk. It’s where we write, experiment, practice and record”. It certainly comes through on the sound, which is clear and organic, no programming or auto tuning here.

The swaggering opener ‘Harry’s Town’ starts things off in fine style, big riffs, catchy chorus and a gang chorus on the outro. Hardly time to draw your breath as ‘Almost Over’ breezes in on a tasty Hammond riff. Vocalist Jason Wick certainly has the pipes to deliver this type of blues rock that tips a respectful nod to the likes of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, whilst adding in Little Red Kings own sound.

It is not all high tempo rock ‘n’ roll as ‘Peppermint’ has more than a hint of Bruce Springsteen about it, whilst ‘Lose The Light’ has a country rock vibe and a song made for daytime radio airplay. Proving they like to go wherever the music takes them, the piano led ‘Norfolk Border’ is full of soothing vocals and gentle atmospherics.

Little Red Kings have found their sound big time on this album, making it one to be played often and loud. Working in their own studio and creating music together has paid off big time. Even better is that this album is only part one, roll on part two! ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie - Get Ready to Rock ​

"Little Red Kings Live"

Take 5 great musicians, give them a common cause that they believe in and if you are lucky you end up with a band approaching Little Red Kings. Those gorgeous vocals with sweet harmonies, bluesy guitar licks to die for, a tight, solid rhythm section and the fullness of keys gluing it all together. It's all there.... I just wanna hear more, and louder

It is quite rare these days to see such a receptive audience cheering and clapping to a "non-covers" band in pub on a Saturday night. - Ice Cube Productions


'The Magic Show Part One' released 2020.

'Callous' Released in 2018.

Little Red Kings Acoustic album

Self-Titled debut album from 2011



A vision of alternative roots rock brought the five band members together, and with a powerful live show they haven't looked back. Their music combines a gritty roots quality, reminiscent of British classic blues rock bands of the 70's, with strong melodies and elements of modern alternative rock. Following the release of their album ‘Callous’ in 2018 they have been increasing their festival appearances, in 2019 they played Ramblin Man Fair, Rock and Blues Festival, Bearded Theory, Southcider Festival and many more. With the release of ‘The Magic Show Part 1’ in 2020, they look to return to the studio at the end of 2021 to record the follow up album. Looking to 2022 Little Red Kings are putting plans in place to continue where they left off at the beginning of 2020.

Band Members