REVIEW: Little King — Amuse De Q (LP)
The full story of Little King would virtually take a novel to thoroughly recount. Having formed in 1996, the band is celebrating their silver Anniversary with a new album. Amuse De Q is vintage Little King, in that it deals with personal themes, as well as more universal ones. Always ones for sensationally imagined narratives, there are multiple layers to Amuse De Q, that unfold in impressively coherent fashion. It’s the kind of record that reflects our reality, without omitting the surrealism that currently overshadows it.
Little King is the brainchild of guitarist, Ryan Rosoff. Rosoff also provides Lead Vocals for the band, and is its primary songwriter. The journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Rosoff. He has endured an abundance of lineup changes and many stalls throughout the saga of Little King. Amuse De Q is a testament to not only the staying power of Little King, but the resilience of Ryan Rosoff.
The title track, “Amuse De Q” has something of a Dream Theater flavor. The guitar work is decidedly Petrucci flavored, with the light tone and smooth but rapid progressions. The song is arranged in such a way of dispersions, and the 6 minute run time, ends up sailing right by. This track has a curiously soothing quality to it, and it eventually reaches a twist/crescendo, when the drums kick things into another gear. “Amuse De Q” is one of the sleeper moments on the record.
Amuse De Q, was conceived and recorded throughout the pandemic, and “Bombs Away,” seems inspired by life in isolation. This is the album opener, and it comes in heavy. I don’t know what day it is/and I haven’t shaved in a week. Hearing that line can either make you smile, cringe, or both, when looking back at a time that we all likely recall, quite vividly. “Bombs Away,” was a great choice for an opener, because if you’re hearing Little King for the first time, you get an idea for their technically proficient, but eclectic musicianship.
“Keyboard Soldier” is presumably a play on the modern slang of keyboard warrior. Keyboard warrior essentially translates to someone who creates conflict through cyber means, only to cower behind their keyboard in the event of actual physical confrontation. This one seems personal for Rosoff, because it most likely is. The social media age has created a great deal of frustration and strife in the general sense of the word. We all likely utilize it in one form or another, but most of us agree that it has a toxic aspect.
Amuse De Q is everything that makes Little King a lone entity. Ryan Rosoff has persevered to earn the right to express himself, and continue to write and create music under the Little King banner. He and the band’s story is an inspiration to all those musicians who are struggling for a platform and an opportunity. Little King has never compromised their vision or their creativity throughout the sometimes trying process. Their 25 year reign, seems to only be the beginning of a new chapter.