Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Welcome to the spiritual dark age

A week after enjoying To Kill A King’s end of tour blow-out at Islington Assembly Hall, I finally have some time to properly get to know their new album. It’s dark and snowing in Paris and climate change has helped swell the Seine to nearly bank-bursting proportions, so Welcome To The Spiritual Dark Age’s twelve tracks all feel appropriate. Yet the band’s live performance of the record was full of life and joy. Maybe they are just the kind of band who get pleasure out of singing about melancholy – not unlike my eternal favourites, Elbow.

Markontour discovered To Kill A King a few years ago at a festival and one of their early singles, ‘Love Is Not Control’, made it on to my Festive Fifteen in 2015. They have clearly built up quite a following since then. In common with most gigs where I am 20 years above the average age, everyone else seems to know all the words to all the songs, including those that were only released a couple of weeks ago.

Singer-songwriter, Ralph Pelleymounter, sings like he means it, making the most of a huge voice alongside a somewhat humble posture that makes him instantly likeable. He could do with developing a bit more stage banter, though. I can’t have been the only one who longed for more explanation about songs with titles like ‘Compassion is a German word’, or ‘The Unspeakable Crimes of Peter Popoff’. It will come.

Or maybe I should just listen harder. The snow’s falling faster now and it is rather beautiful in the Marais, but there’s only so much time any sane person can spend staring out of a hotel window. Time to crank up the volume on the headphones and do some proper research into the markontour Album of the Week #26.

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