Aussie-bred turned LA-based rock band Between Kings has achieved critical acclaim since their formation back in 2013. The band’s debut album, The Escape, instantly started climbing the Alternative Charts in 2018, escalating the emo four-piece to over 1.5 million Spotify streams last year. Now pairing with producer Jimmy Messer (AWOLNATION, Kygo, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez), Between Kings has a stylish new sound, integrating EDM elements, synths and even some hip hop beats alongside their arena rock regimen. Wash that all down with subject matter and vocal presentation straight out of the emo era — think of The Used circa 2005, et. Al. — and you’ve got yourself a rock-solid modern-day alternative EP.
Due to the global COVID-19 crisis, Between Kings has decided to push back the release date for their sophomore full-length album, Young Love, choosing to instead unveil it later this year. In the meantime, the band reveals an impromptu EP titled after the album’s lead single!
Between Kings comments on the decision:
“Everyone in the world is struggling, not just with coronavirus itself but everything that has come along with it – loss of loved ones, jobs, stability, loneliness and a massive rise in mental health issues. We’ve also been hit by this, too, as plans, dates and events were pushed or canceled. The full album release date kept getting pushed back due to studio time, but we, and our team, really wanted to be there for the fans in this hard time and bring some new music on the original release date. So, we’ve broken the album up into two parts! We’re actually really excited to do this, so we can give something to everyone now and when the lockdown and restrictions start to lift, we can get everything back on track to bring the second half to you later in the year. We truly feel like this is our best work and we hope you enjoy! We’ve put so much time and passion into these songs that we are proud to say we’ve found our signature sound!”
Antidote reflects the struggles of mental health — especially in early adulthood — from start to finish. The title track is posited at the front of the EP, welcoming all to the deep depths of young adult ennui. “I can tell I’ve lost my way”… “I need a reason to carry on,” sings lead singer Nic Machuca. Stuck in a consumerist attention-deficit society, the only answer is an instant fix — “I need an antidote”.
Self-medicating probably isn’t the answer; repression and denial can be a lot of fun, though.
Blame it on being young and dumb, the last call bell or what have you — at least you’re pretending to have a good time? This escapist mentality is emphasized in track two, “Bad For Me”: it’s the end of the night, don’t want to go home alone to your thoughts… why not try to cling to anything to keep the night going? With soft vocals and light keys in the chorus, “Bad For Me” details a bad decision knowingly executed. “I know that you’re bad for me”, I shouldn’t do this, “you’re just too much”, yet I continue to engage. What’s worse is the listener cannot ascertain if Machuca is fighting the urge to give into a girl or something harder. Hopefully, the former with the ghosts in his closet.
“Bad For Me” is followed by another previously unreleased track from the band, “Show Me What It’s Like To Love”. If loving yourself is too much, knowing how to love another is simply impossible. Yet, Between Kings is willing to try. The four-track EP ends with “Too Young To Give A Fuck”, pulling the subject matter full-circle. I’m desperately searching for the answer, I want to get better, but screw your advice — you don’t know me. Catchy and full of fire, “Too Young To Give A Fuck” is this year’s youth anthem.
On the video, guitarist Jordan Coyne elaborates: “Everyone right now is locked in their homes and, for some, it’s a cold and lonely time. We really wanted to connect and bring people together, so we thought it would be fun to reach out to fans to get them to make their own videos for this project. ‘Too Young…’ is all about how you feel inside; it’s an attitude. I have a grandma and she’s still too young to give a fuck!”
Between Kings even used this time in solitary to conduct a fan-filled music video for the single, out now! Watch it below and make sure to add Between Kings to your 2020 playlists as Antidote is available on all digital outlets.
Purchase or stream ‘Antidote’ EP:
- Bad For Me
- Show Me What It’s Like To Love
- Too Young To Give A Fuck
Between Kings “Too Young To Give A Fuck” official video:
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.