Marcus King - Mood Swings (Neon Orange Vinyl)

Regular price $ 39.99

On Neon Orange Vinyl

Never one to disguise his motivations, Marcus King telegraphs his intentions for his second album for American/Republic with the title Mood Swings: fresh from a painful breakup, he delves deep into his psyche, achieving a sense of grace through exorcising demons. King's torment is apparent through his song titles -- "Fuck My Life Up Again," "Soul It Screams," and "Save Me" all arrive in quick succession -- but not in the sound of the record. Working with producer Rick Rubin for the first time -- this is his second album for American Recordings but the first he's cut at Malibu's Shangri-La Studios -- King consciously steers away from high-octane blues-rock, preferring to settle into a mellow, reflective groove that's equal parts Memphis soul stew and the glistening sound of Philly. King deliberately refrains from extended guitar flights, preferring to use the instrument for rhythm and texture. He even opts not to ratchet up the tempo, and the subdued rhythms, many anchored with drum loops, barely rise above a simmer. The relaxed gait and emphasis on feel push the focus onto King's voice. Pitched at a pleading falsetto, King sounds raw and earnest, bending classic soul-blues form so it suits a combination of therapy-speak and visceral earthiness. If the individual songs don't quite differentiate themselves, that's not precisely a detriment, as King is on an explicit interior journey, ensuring that his music mimics his moods. He doesn't avoid darkness, but he chooses not to wallow, finding instead a measure of peace in the emotional expression itself.