Simply put, this is a great album. Created with writing partner and producer Nick Faber as a reflection and meditation on the ebb and flow of a normal man’s life, authenticity and relatability are two key characteristics of the writing style on this record. While it is an album that references a diverse set of influences there is an unmistakable soul and blues sensibility that courses throughout the tracks. There are the same recognisable soaring vocals and heartfelt lyricism from the Smoove & Turrell frontman that long term fans are used to (Smoove even lent a helping hand with engineering duties on the record) however this is undoubtedly a case of John running his own show.
His direct and earnest songwriting seems more relevant than ever. Exemplified perfectly in the album’s opening lines - “I believe in nothing more than those who got and those who ain’t. Your house to the poor house the line you cross if you can’t pay”.
Delivering twelve stunning raw vocal performances on emotionally searing tracks Turrell manages to span upbeat northern soul jaunts, downtempo bluesy groovers and emotive ballads in a cohesive collection that never ceases to treat the listener. Highlights include the high tempo bouncing title track ‘The Kingmaker’, the dancefloor focused funk bass and shuffling dance beats on ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. The slippery 60’s Hammond blues rock groove of attitude-laden ‘The Temper’ and the lighters-in-the-air piano ballad ‘Day In Day Out’.
The man himself sums it up nicely: “I still believe in the “Album”, a set of chapters that can only really be understood in its entirety, I never wanted to lose sight of this in the making ‘The Kingmaker’. I never held back in the writing of lyrics or the way I sing. It’s the only way; if you want people to understand what you’re going through. At the end of the day we aren’t put here to just be happy or we would never know what happiness was.”
John rose to fame as one half of Northern soul outfit Smoove & Turrell with whom he has released 4 full length albums in addition his solo project. His songs have has consistently been championed and playlisted by BBC Radio2, BBC6 Music and he has performed live across the world as far as Moscow and Dubai including high profile shows at Glastonbury, Trans Musicales and the legendary Space club in Ibiza. Smoove & Turrell’s most recent album Stratos Bleu is their most successful to date reaching Number 1 on the Official UK dance album charts.
The Kingmaker is out on August 5th on limited edition yellow vinyl gatefold LP format with additional artwork insert and digital download card.
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