“King Tuff should not be inspected or even listened to with critical ears,” according to Bobby Harlow, producer of this eponymous second LP. That negates our job, so let’s give it a go anyway. Kyle Thomas’s new album opens with ‘Anthem’, an unsurprisingly big track that’s a cacophony of biting guitars and rhythmic raps of the snare. This isn’t a theme that runs through the album, though. Tambourines fill the plod-along ballad of ‘Unusual World’, which Thomas croons over in such a way you expect a ’60s girl group to kick in with some doo-wop ooohs. ‘Swamp of Love’ is then a semi-acoustic number with vocals that slur à la Dylan, finding a happy medium between sounding drunk and meaningful. Essentially, it’s pleasant, catchy, fluid stuff; modishly lo-fi and easy on the ears, but void of any real surprise.

By DK Golstein

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