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King In Yellow - The Chelsea, At Night (self-released)

26 January 2024

I almost never buy a book just because I have stumbled across it through my job as a music writer. But having had a couple of tracks by King In Yellow under the pen and found them a thoroughly enjoyable experience, I picked up a copy of Robert W. Chambers’ iconic work, from which they take their intriguing name. It’s a book I recommend, particularly if you like eldritch, Victorian horror – as I do.

Tellingly, it is a book that begins with the immortal lines, “Beware reading this book. You do so at your own peril,” lines also apt in application to the band we have here.

Drop the virtual needle on the digital copy of their latest single, “The Chelsea, At Night,” which, in itself, is a wonderfully evocative title, and you are faced with similarly eldritch music. Music made up of snarling, cavernous walls of guitars, propulsive drums, and raw and relentless bass energies, music that seems to gently nudge the creatively abrasive, razor wire onslaughts of bands such as The Pixies or Sonic Youth into the stranger, avant-garde realms The Velvet Underground. The latter band become even more relevant given the song title, presumably a reference to Manhattan’s Hotel Chelsea, once a hotbed and haven for art and music’s miscreants and makers of mayhem.

This is the third time I have written about the band and the third time I have come away even more in love with what they do than when I went in. Obviously the sign of a band setting their own benchmarks and then smashing them with each, subsequent release. Three for three, as they say, in sports environs. (Not that I get to hang out in such places, thankfully.)