BASED in the small city of Bozeman, Montana, in the foothills of the Rockies, King Ropes have quietly going about their particular brand of whimsical, alt.psych rock since their 2017 debut, Dirt.
There’s a little of Kurt Wagner’s husky, declamatory warmth and observation to their thang; a touch of the Malkmus absurds, a little Mr E, too; all wrapped up in a surreal flow and groovily slacker guitars and mellotron that seeps into your brain, epiphany and extrapolated imagery, free-associating lyrical flow: “A magical floating eye on a blue plate hanging on a wall in a motel in Deer Lodge, Montana / Might make you freak … ” – and the accompanying video roams free, too, through horse training, Luis Buñuel eyes, stop-motion skies, more.
It’s certainly an intriguing door into a softly weird world that you can explore further come June 11th when Big and Not Little release the band’s fourth album, Way Out West. Intrigued? You’ll find pre-order kickers down by the video.
The whole King Ropes thing is centred around singer and lyricist Dave Hollier, who sure as hell knows how to bring the surreal to our world, surveying a land haunted by doomed relationships and hypocritical ideologues.
Way Out West is more than just a title — it’s a guiding principle. Hollier moved way, waaya out west after time in Brooklyn and LA, carved himself an eyrie in the hills from which to observe the world askew. He’s got the safe accompanying hands of bassist and guitarist Ben Roth and drummer Jeff Jensen striding out alongside him on the new album.
Some of the songs are about accepting the chaos of the pandemic era, others are more discontent; but it’s got swagger and playfulness and whimsy; it’s got twang and rumble and feedback. And these are the good things.
King Ropes’ Way Out West will be released by Big and Not Little digitally, on CD and on vinyl on June 11th, and can be pre-ordered right now over at their Bandcamp page.