“Shades of Hippiedom.” That’s the best way to describe King of Prussia and their 2008 Kindercore Records release Save the Scene. Though their music is gimmick free and their sound non-exclusive, it is in the band’s semi-satirical titling of the record’s third song, “Shades of Hippiedom,” that best captures the style of King of Prussia.
Hailing from the weirdo rock hotbed of Athens, Ga., King of Prussia fights the urge to sound too much like any of the other iconic Athens bands that have come before them. Their acoustic,’60s-sounding psychedelic folk-pop has overtures of Belle and Sebastian and recalls Neutral Milk Hotel in glimpses. Despite those mild comparisons, to label them as having any certain schtick is not in order.
Opening track “Spain in the Summertime” sounds like The Beach Boys meets The Byrds meets Camera Obscura. Jangly guitars and singer Brandon Hanick’s detached vocals guide the summer anthem back and forth among lyrics in English and Spanish. Oh, and then there’s the well-placed female backing vocal throughout the track.
“Misadventures of the Campaign Kids” is the most accessible Save the Scene track, with King of Prussia being reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Ghost,” complete with bizarre lyrics, which include a blatant mention of Tony Danza. The song has catchy chorus with elements of synthesizer and the inexplicable feeling that it in some way feels Scott Spillane-esque. “Terrarium” is also worthy of mention as a dreamy track in which Hanick cynically decides, “Science will not wait for modern love/ Sleep inside your own terrarium.”
Save the Scene is a well-paced, trippy, carousing that scratches the surface of many genres but can’t be subjugated to just one. The production on Save the Scene was largely done with the BR-1180 a previously limited digital recording device. That didn’t stop King of Prussia from making a crisp sounding record that was able to capture the band’s sun-drenched psychedelia and managed to maintain a feeling of spontaneity. With full backing from the born again Kindercore Records and a sense of unwritten obligation to live up to the standard of excellence carved out by Athens’ long list of critically acclaimed bands, King of Prussia hopes to Save the Scene, or at least revive it.
Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap
Camera Obscura – Underachievers Please Try Harder
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea