On some level, every band wants to be the ones whose music kicks off the revolution. The King Mob aren’t shy about admitting this. The second track on their debut LP is literally titled I Am the Revolution. This could seem a like empty posturing, but after giving the album a few spins, it’s hard not to get caught up in the atmosphere of positive power poetry that permeates ‘Must Come’.
The King Mob is Dublin poet Karl Parkinson and musician/producer’s Conor O’s musical fusion of spoken word and dirty electro beats. The duo’s genre-melting mash-up pulses with the slick hip-hop energy of Saul Williams, the wry wordiness of John Cooper Clarke and a set of power-rhythms distilled from two parts rave to one part punk. Hip-hop electro punk poetry – call it whatever you want, classification isn’t even really the point here.
‘Must Come’ is at once a positivity manifesto and a litany of the illness plaguing modern inner city society – a rebel yell in the name of the redemptive power of poetry, of channelling self-belief into rhyme and finding in this a solution to living, all set over some sick beats.
The dichotomy at work throughout ‘Must Come’ is between positivity and negativity. Down Here and Atmosfear are grim chronicles of working class inner city communities rendered almost apocalyptic by drugs, gangs, poverty and lack of prospects. On the other hand, we have I Am the Revolution and I Have A Dream – calls to self-actualisation and the redemptive power of expression, though words, though poetry, through hip-hop. “I have a dream” chants Parkinson in a droning, shamanic delivery, “that children in schools/ will have classes in self-hypnosis/ meditation/ freethinking/ divinity exploration…” The rhythm running behind this chant elevates it from mere poetry to a kind of hypnotic spell – a hopped-up electro energy that wouldn’t be out of place on a Prodigy record.
Rap Hymn sees the duo at their tightest fusion, with words and beats rolling with the unity of a single heartbeat as it’s deluge of verse pours over the listener in two intensely verbose minutes.
Parkinson delights in his own lyrical inventiveness. On Positivity Manifesto he conjures a series of nebulous yet flowing puns only possible with a thick northsider accent: “You say I’m annoying/ but I’m not a nine…” (pronounced noy-in) “I’m a ten/ I’m at-ten-ding to my mind and soul”.
There’s such a swaggering rock n’ roll self-confidence driving Parkinson’s delivery that it’s hard not believe him, whatever he says. His ode to himself should become dull narcissism after four or five tracks, but somehow it never does – he may love himself as much is Kanye loves Kanye, but his point is that the rest of us should love ourselves this much too.
There are worse ideas than this to base a revolution on. And as soundtracks to revolutions go, we could do a lot worse than the King Mob.