KEVIN LEE & THE KINGS – Breakout (2013)
Chicago, Illinois based KEVIN LEE and his band (previously known as The Lonesome City Kings) were signed to MCA in 1992 and the group’s first single was chosen for a NBA All Stars Video and used in the movie ‘A Dangerous Woman’.
Since then Lee has toured the States as main act and opening arena gigs for REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Lou Gramm, Matthew Sweet, etc, releasing in the middle several albums during the last two decades.
Now he is back with his current band KEVIN LEE & THE KINGS and their brand new record “Breakout”.
Skilled songwriter, Lee’s music travels along the harder edges of classic melodic rock&pop with a sound and style akin Rick Springfield, Cheap Trick or Eddie & The Tide driven by chunky guitars, big hooks and solid beats pushing the songs forward nicely.
Lee was voted best new artist by Fireworks Magazine UK in 2007, and I can hear why. The songs on “Breakout” are extremely well written and produced to a very high standard, melodic, catchy and with a lyrical content above the level for this type of music.
Kevin’s vocals are warm and soulful reminding me his namesake Kevin Cronin from REO, while his band is super dynamic, rhythmically punchy on the edges.
Opener “Tell Me Why” is the kind of melodic rock with crunchy guitars that ruled the airwaves during the ’80s, and the fist-pumping title track title track “Breakout” has a Butch Walker kind of swagger to it.
The restless “Burn It Down” (my favorite) is another rock-solid declaration of defiance showcasing Lee’s knack for alluring melodies, “Gold Digger” features an enjoyable quirky low-key, then “Can’t Believe You’re Gone” has the lighter, funky-rocking vibe that once was Dan Reed Network’s trademark.
But while Lee can crank up the amps, he also has a way with lovable melodious ballads as “Outside Looking In” and the reflective “Hope In A Hopeless World”. Both will have you holding up your metaphorical (or real) cigarette lighter.
Still, “Breakout” works best when it’s muscular and melodic at the same time, like on “Tell Me Why” and the rollicking closer “Too Little Too Late” which features a guitar-driven instrumental passage.
On “Breakout” Kevin Lee and The Kings create classic, strong radio friendly poppy melodic rock with a modern edge but firmly planted into the eighties.
Kevin Lee certainly has a magic touch in his pen and we have gained an album of songs written with real passion and sincerity, not to mention catchiness. Lee’s tunes stay in your head and keep you coming back for more.
Whatever the approach – from rockers to ballads – he and producer Todd Jones give each track the highly polished arrangement of a potential hit single. Any of these cuts would have ranked high twenty five years ago.
If the classic FM rock of the ’80s still perk up your ears, don’t miss “Breakout”, this is really, really good…
01. Tell Me Why
02. Burn It Down
03. Gold Digger
04. Can’t Believe You’re Gone
05. Outside Looking In
07. Save Your Soul Tonight
08. Hope In A Hopeless World
09. Tell Me What It’s Like
10. Too Little Too Late
Kevin Lee – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Brent Seatter – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Todd Jones – Bass, Backing Vocals
Erik Strommer – Drums
BUY IT !