on 30 August 2004
I discovered King's X after hearing Tommy Vance play 'Sometimes' from the album prior to this one (Out of the Silent Planet) on the old Friday Rock Show. I was struck by the wonderfully full rock sound they produced along with the clever little vocal twists. I went straight out and bought this album on cassette - hey, this was the late eighties and I was a struggling, starving student!
On 'Gretchen Goes to Nebraska' there's more of that pumping rock sound, but with a little more sophistication, particularly on the vocals. The melodies are catchy but not "poppy" and the harmonies are especially complex. The band were showing more sophistication in their song writing, musically as well as lyrically, and this is demonstrated in a tighter feel to the production. For me, this is King's X at their creative best, and while subsequent Atlantic releases follow in the same vein as this album, they don't have the edge that this recording does. Top tracks include; 'Over my Head', 'Summerland' and 'Pleides'. Even today, this is the album that I love to sing along to in the bath.
on 28 January 2009
I very rarely give a 5-star rating to anything, but this is Kings X's finest hour and this really is a truly special album. Timeless songwriting, excellent musicianship, enough soul and feeling to last the average listener a lifetime and it always sounds fresh every time you go back to it. It showcases King's X's ability to draw together an eclectic mix of styles. You will not be disappointed.
on 8 April 2013
I owned this many years ago on cassette when it first came out. In 1989, Kings X stood out in a sea of Hair Metal/thrash/retro rock as something a bit special and really set apart from the predictability of the rock scene of the time. This, their second album remains the pinnacle of their achievement. They had some moments of brilliance on some subsequent relesaes such as 'Faith Hope and Love', and 'Ear Candy' but it was never this good again. The album is full of light and shade from the grinding opening riff of 'Out of the silent Planet' through the shimmering 'Summerland' to the delicately beautiful 'Garden at St Anne's.' 'Mission' has an axe to grind against religious hypocrisy while still acknowledging true Christian faith, and 'sends a message' is fast and furious, before closing with the brooding and atmospheric 'The Burning down.' This is how hard rock should sound, with beautiful beatlesque melodies while still riffing and grooving furiously. There are many influences at play; Beatles, Hendrix, Hip-Hop, but always their own unique and distinctive sound. I can't recommend this enough. If you haven't heard of this ground breaking (but sadly under-rated) rock/metal band, then 'Gretchen Goes to Nebraska' is the ideal starting point. Delivery of the product was impeccable also, arriving in perfect condition within 3 days.
on 8 November 2014
King's X - a band far too underated and nowhere near well enough known. Some have even suggested that they were the birth of grunge, before the likes of Nirvana. I'm no historian, so I can't comment, except to say that they magnificently combine a grungy type of sound, with Beatlesque harmonies, and heavy rock rhythms and guitars. Another fantastic album.
Many years ago I purchased both Gretchen and Out Of The Silent Planet (The first album not the lead track ) after the former was given a KKKKK in Kerrang heavy metal magazine if I remember rightly. And to this day I am glad I did. An excellent CD from beginning to end. Nothing quite prepares you for the masterful guitar work of Ty Tabor and the ever fantastic vocals of Doug Pinnick, not forgetting the excellent drumming of Jerry Gaskill. It quite literally takes you to another world. Over My Head is an outrageously catchy rocker, Summerland a multi layered delight of guitar and soaring vocals. What more can you say about Pleiades, (if you can pronounce it!!), epic stuff. All in all give your ears a treat and let them indulge in this little known pleasure.
on 5 December 2013
THE album that got me into heavy rock/metal in the late 80's and WHAT AN ALBUM to begin my journey. Still one of the best metal albums of all-time (according to me)! There is a funk and groove to most King's X music that, when they get it right, really blows you away. Just listen to 'Over my Head' and I defy you not to give it large on the head banging! This was their most coherent and catchy album and is an essential to any rock collection. The Beatles harmonies are always mentioned but the slightly progressive element doesn't seem to get as much notice. Maybe that will change now that they're appearing on the Progressive Nation at Sea in 2014. Now go and get some of those crinkly bits of paper from mummies purse and ask your friendly spinning album merchant to whizz a copy of this to you. Splendid.
on 27 June 2009
This is such a great original progressive heavy rock metal record that is so amazingly from the late eighties. It still sounds totally modern and very new and fresh, in style and vision. The guitarist and drummer are so amazingly skilled, crafting unpredictable riffs and tunes. Even so it is still and hugely catchy rockin album with great deep meaning, lyrics themes and vision. Fantasic stuff.