New York City has always served as a hub for talented rock bands and King Falcon is ready to join that select company. Michael Rubin, Tom Diognardi, and James Terranova constitute themselves in the power trio format often preferred by modern rock outfits, but their classic rock influences never mean you should ready yourself for their mimicry of bands such as Cream and or Rush, to name a few. King Falcon, with eleven songs, is already well on their way to carving out territory for themselves alone in the current musical landscape. Their self-titled debut release provides ample evidence of gifts certain to continue growing both individually and collectively.
You will hear few band efforts this year that are tighter. Each of the album’s eleven cuts bristles with collective chemistry that sounds as effortless as breathing. “Everybody’s Down” highlights the band’s three musicians individually and working together. Michael Rubin’s guitar playing embraces a punkier vibe than we’ll hear from the debut’s later tracks, but it’s firmly in keeping with the same aesthetic governing the later songs.
“Ready Set Go” introduces Rubin’s default guitar sound – warm, chunky, and irrepressible. Every one of the debut’s eleven tracks, however, likewise spotlights bassist Terranova and drummer Diognardi’s innate chemistry as well as their individual talents. “Set Me Free” really gives the former a chance to shine. It has an eye-opening funk edge that we won’t hear again from the band on this release, but they are quite convincing working in that vein. Rubin offers us one of his best vocals.
Another of the album’s peak moments arrives with “Rabbit Gets the Gun”. This is an impassioned track and quite the instrumental workout without ever risking ostentatiousness. Marshall Altman’s production skills are particularly complementary for tracks such as this as he helps orchestrate the light and heavy passages vying for the listener’s attention. King Falcon returns with music that’s like a clenched fist with “Ride” and the song’s unabashed rock and roll nastiness will be a delicious listen for many. They don’t gussy up songs such as this; they don’t need to. They speak for themselves.
None of the album’s songs exceed three minutes and five seconds and a couple barely clear the two-and-a-half-minute mark. It doesn’t mean, however, that some songs don’t sound much larger than others. “My Name Is” sounds like it’s operating with a wider scope than many of its surrounding songs and its dramatic effects are apparent from the first listen. “Go On” is another example of a track sounding much larger than its running time may imply. King Falcon varies their sound here, a self-conscious move perhaps in light of this being the final song, but the final effects are nonetheless satisfying.
New York City’s King Falcon is certain to garner a lot of attention on the back of this album. There are good reasons for that; eleven of them, to be exact. They deserve kudos for many things we haven’t mentioned in this review, but the self-titled debut serves up eleven tracks that inhabit well-worn land while still sounding remarkably new.