Love is Coal – about the slow build-up

This week I had a discussion with a couple of colleagues. You see, To Kill A King is somewhat of a staple in our office and they have quickly turned into ‘our office band’. However, not everyone is a convert yet, so when we were discussing how many of us should go see To Kill A King when they return to Amsterdam, we didn’t reach a decision yet (3 people are definitely in, the others need a little more convincing, but eventually they’ll come around!). It’s not a quality thing, but a matter of taste.

During our discussion that we should go see the band again (I went with a colleague last time they came to Amsterdam and I saw the incarnation called Kid Id many moons ago, but that’s arguably a different band), one of my not-so convinced colleagues argued that she likes the songs but they’re hard to get into.

This I do not understand. To me, in fact, To Kill A King is one of the easiest bands to get into. Yes, the new material seems of the dark romantic kind that allows for slow building and you need to be patient for that, but for every slow builder there’s a Funeral: a catchy song with a likable chorus, produced well enough and it even allows for some dancing. And those choruses are also present in the slow-building songs.

I know the slow build-up will be rewarding. And that’s why, to me, it’s beautiful that To Kill A King take the time to slowly build up their songs. Letters To My Lover, The Dylan Fan is one of my favourite songs of their debut.

Take Love is Coal, from the recent EP Exit, Pursued By A Bear. This song starts of with a slow guitar part. And yes, your mind might wander if you’re not fully in the moment when hearing it first. But once it blooms, it blooms beautifully. You can only just appreciate it.

All this is exemplified even more by the music video. It starts off as a lyric video like many we’ve seen before, even the fan submitted artwork idea we’ve seen before, but then again I’d argue it’s also a proper music video starting a couple and a peak into their life. From Game of Thrones-inspired posters to postcards to little scribblings on a piece of paper to a The Guardian webpage… As the camera pans round while the song slowly builds we get a nice melancholy view into the lives of the people who just went to sleep.

And then the drums kick in and we rewind in high-speed and the video ends beautifully somehow, once again with some lyrics here and there, but more than that. You now get what they’re singing about: and we’ll bare these marks as reminders / with the dirt on our clothes as you find us / we two miners, but love is not like diamonds, love is coal to keep you warm… 

Nicely done. The beauty of the build-up. And all you can do is go back and play it again.

Exit, Pursued By A Bear is available now. The band are touring Europe in early 2015.

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