Mississippi Isabel is just refreshing. It’s sunny without jumping into a fuzzy, beach-y vibe, and it’s poppy without feeling like it belongs on top 40 radio. The songs will get under your skin and into your head quickly, meaning you may have to work extra hard to hide your glee on public transit this winter — because who wants to be seen smiling in public? In the confines of your own private dwelling, though, I dare you to not break out your most embarrassing dance moves.
King Charles (@kingcharlesuk) is no stranger to music fans in his native London, but his tunes only became available to US listeners with 2010’s EP Alone On The Throne. While that release was a bit stripped down, Mississippi Isabel is ripe with well-produced tracks that make use of a full band to showcase King Charles’ knack for unique songwriting. Not to mention, the songs are incredibly upbeat and catchy, with percussive and worldly influences slightly reminiscent of Vampire Weekend. Centered around the character of “Mississippi Isabel,” a female that is certainly occupying King Charles’ mind, the frank, semi-humorous lyrics and matter-of-fact vocal stylings remind me of The Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs.
Is King Charles’ music different just for the sake of being different? Maybe. Known for climbing atop speakers and wearing only a unitard during live performances, he’s certainly not one to shy away from attention. Plus have you seen his hair? The whole EP is just so enjoyable, however, that the theatrics don’t really matter. There are only four songs, but all are equally well conceived and all relate back to the overall theme of that one girl/guy that you just can’t get out of your mind. The best tracks are easily “Love Lust” and the titular “Mississippi Isabel.” The former is more rock-based, making good use of guitar riffs and pulsating keyboard, while the latter is a playful ditty with an upbeat, lighthearted chorus. With releases like this, King Charles can expect to receive much more attention on this side of the Atlantic. It’s about time.