‘Kings And Thieves’ is Geoff Tate’s first solo record for ten years and in that time it’s probably ok to say he’s had his fair share of troubles. The conflicts and legal problems with his band QueensrÃƒ¿che aside however, this is a record which has a real grasp at mainstream appeal and has plenty of songs which sound like plausible stadium anthems.
In all honesty Tate has a terrific voice, he sounds like an older Myles Kennedy, opening track ‘She Slipped Away’ does have that slightly dated European rock sound to it but that’s swiftly followed by ‘Take A Bullet’ which is visceral enough to sound like a Chris Cornell track. There’s definitely an edge to Tate’s music of not quite knowing which direction the songs are about to take, which in this case is a good thing because it keeps you on your toes as a listener.
Geoff Tate knows how to do corny, there are songs on the album which will either make you jump up and want to dance or just plain out laugh, a song like ‘Say U Love It’ has the sense of Tate not taking himself too seriously and having a bit of fun, although the song doesn’t really work that well. Even a song like ‘Dark Money’ is a little camped up but it does work as a solid rock song.
However there are quite a few tracks that just don’t cut it really, ‘In The Dirt’ has got filler written all over it and it simply adds nothing to the record at all. This isn’t a rare thing; it feels like a record with a lot of ‘stuff’ interspersed with a few moments of brilliance. An example of a good song would be ‘Change’ where you actually feel Geoff Tate is pouring his heart into telling us repeatedly “I just want to change” and it feels real and from someone who has obviously been through a fair amount of problems over the years.
‘Kings And Thieves’ is an interesting record which will probably appeal to fans of QueensrÃƒ¿che (the ones who actually like Tate at all) and anyone who likes a retro sounding rock & roll record that hams it up at times but does have a small handful of absorbing material.
Reviewer: Greg Spencer