Prince Cosigned R&B Trio King Showcases Its Crushed-Velvet Sound on Debut 'We Are King': Album Review

KING
Album Review
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Courtesy Photo

Over the past few years, the Los Angeles trio King teased its brand of blissfully hushed soul in bites, delivering a pint-size EP and one-off singles that invoke both Erykah Badu’s incense-cloud coolness and Prince’s neon funk (the latter artist mentored the group after discovering it on YouTube). Debut LP We Are King finally gives the act room to stretch its crushed-velvet sound to its outer edges. The three voices often swirl into one, with lockstep harmonies that make challenging, constantly shifting melodies go down easy on standouts like the Moogified “Oh, Please!” and ’80s quiet-storm charmer “Mister Chameleon.” The album is glued together, though, by King’s hopeful romanticism (“Happily after only happens in fairy tales, daydreams or never/But I wished hard on the stars,” they sing on “Hey”), which gives the music’s muted beauty real emotional heft.