Kingdom’s February debut proved to be polarizing, but I think everyone could get onboard with the group’s high-concept visual. Excalibur introduced Kingdom’s world view, and the guys promise to release a series of albums to further develop that lore. It’s an ambitious plan for a rookie, but I applaud them for trying something new.
I enjoyed Excalibur quite a bit, though I haven’t returned to it much since February. New single Karma will likely have more broad appeal, incorporating traditional instrumentation in a cohesive way. But, its lurching sound just isn’t for me.
“Lurching” has become a Bias List cliché, and I apologize for that. But, it’s the best word I can use to describe music like this. Across the few decades, the endpoint for pop songwriting has changed so much. Songs that used to be targeted to the dancefloor or radio are now often crafted to appeal to digital platforms and youtube videos. This has its benefits, but sometimes makes it harder to enjoy the music itself.
For me, Karma is this kind of a song. Coupled with a cool video, the music makes an exciting soundtrack. But taken on its own, there’s not much to grab onto. I love the woodwinds that open the track, and am happy that they stick around into the verses and chorus. But, the melody feels flat and unmemorable. The chorus harnesses a shout-along energy that sounds dramatic but lacks any sharp hooks. Too much of Karma drones on like this, failing to find its knockout moment. That’s too bad, because the production is quite engaging at times.