King Tuff is ready for a change. For his fifth studio album, the US musician aka Kyle Thomas underwent what is being described as a “psychic reset,” with the man himself saying: “I let the songs lead me where they wanted to go, instead of trying to push them into a certain zone… King Tuff was never supposed to be just one thing. It was supposed to be everything.”
‘The Other’ is far from one thing. It feels like the tingling energy flowing through the fingers of Thomas at his most creative, and most bizarre. If you came here for meaty garage-rock riffs, you may well feel like you’ve turned down an unexpected path – but you’ll certainly benefit by sticking around in this world a little longer, because things get weird as fuck.
The album is chockablock with funky breakdowns that’ll have you downing your drink and snaking your way to the nearest dancefloor. ‘Raindrop Blue’s hypnotic bassline is paired with an electrifying sax riff, ‘Psycho Star’ wiggles and squirms with cosmic beats and ‘Infinite Mile’ is a slice of ‘Rocks’-era Primal Scream. These are party songs that aren’t afraid to push things to their absolute limits.
Half of the album may turn your head into a frenzy, but within there are moments of serious beauty. ‘Thru The Cracks’, the album’s finest track, was first penned “7 years ago or so” Thomas says, but took on a new meaning after his close friend Jeremiah passed away a few years later. “You know you had such a beautiful brain / but no one understood you” Thomas says of his friend, the song awash with a gorgeous riff and his most honest and open vocal performance to date; a fitting tribute to someone whose impact on the world and Thomas’ was perhaps bigger than they ever realised.
This “psychic reset” has reinvigorated Thomas, and even if the results are sometimes a bit messy, there’s no way you can call this record boring. Long live King Tuff II.