Well it’s taken me a while to come to this conclusion, but this really is a bloody gorgeous album. It seems that the King’s brief excursion back to Fence Records last year has informed a lot of this. Last year he released the excellent They Flock Like Vulcans… which was shot through with fuzzy, lost techno beats and crackling low-fi electronica. It was a meandering record of half-finished ideas, some great and some a little obscure, but it seems to have set the scene for Flick the Vs, in a sense.
There’s no doubt about it, though, this is a tight album. Rarely is it as playful as previous work has been, but the loose experimentation of Vulcans has been reigned in to produce a short, sharp record of coherent songs with not an inch of flab on them anywhere.
I am not in love with all of it, however. Songs like Coast on By seem to be a hangover from the pop excursion of Bombshell and, whilst I liked Bombshell, that approach seems slightly at odds with the rest of this particular album. Then again, had he not included it I might well have been complaining about the pace not being varied enough, and you can’t have it both ways. This particular song, simply, doesn’t really appeal to me. Camels Swapped For Wives, on the other hand, could also be a Bombshell song, but it’s one which works really nicely in the context of this record.
For the most part, however, this is the wry, melancholy King Creosote we all know and love. In amongst the whispers of distorted electronics are simple acoustic ballads, giving the record a really nice balance of textures. Most importantly, however, this album contains an obvious handful of King Creosote classics. No-one Had it Better is an outstanding opener, Nothing Rings True is aching, Rims is bizarre, but brilliant, No Way She Exists… it goes on. Not bad for an old timer. I’m not sure why it took me a while to get used to though, but it definitely did. I got there in the end, though.
Rims video and mini-documentary on King Creosote below.