Mike Noga‘s new album came out a few weeks ago but I kind-off got side by another new album so now get back to his album named King. So briefly this his first solo album since leaving his drum stool of his long time band, The Drones. Looking at it really on paper or laptop screen he only played on three studio by that band: 2005’s Gala Mill, 2008’s Havilah and 2013’s I See Seaweed and then also pretty much in that time he release his two previously solo albums: 2004’s Folk Songs and 2011’s The Balladeer Hunter. Both of those are pretty good albums for just a drummer but you can see why leaving was the right thing to do, this has gone to the next level and now becoming an artist in his own right.
15 tracks based loosely on an old German play Woyzeck by Georg Büchner from 1836 but play-writer die in 1837 before finishing it. Noga seems to have re-cast and setting it to 1950’s Aussie Suburbs with factory worker Jack and his wife Mary. With actor and part-time singer Noah Taylor as the Narrator with voice overs in between the songs. Mike Noga and the albums producer, Something For Kate‘s Paul Dempsey play all the music here with only The Drones’ Steve Hesketh on keys and Dallas Crane‘s Pat Bourke on bass playing two tracks. Pat played on Mike’s last album but hiring a drummer when your a drummer yourself seems a bit pointless really. The King’s drumming just has to be one of the highlights, the album pumps along so much more than his last two solo albums.
The some what opening track Nobody Leads Me To Flames is a total killer track, subtitled in bracket Mary’s Death. “No more cigarettes and alcohol” is how the next song starts Don’t Fall To The Ground then come the already classic song/live fan fave, All My Friends Are Alcoholics which has been around for five years or more now. Love Meets No Stranger is a cover song original by Gaylen Adams which the a-side of just one 7″ vinyl single released under that name. Runnin’ At The World is just before Noga’s USA songs, I don’t know why alot of Aussie singers write songs about that part of the world? One reason I love The Drones they’re Aussie and write, sing about Australia but Mike leaves the band and now has I Wanna Live In America and Down Like JFK but Noga was actually was living in the UK while writing this album and recorded in Melbourne off course. I just have to say those and ending songs of the album are the weakest tracks here.
I’ll rated it 4.4 out of 5 and he’s playing a couple of solo gigs this weekend in my town so I’m hoping to catch him somewhere but we’ll see I guess. He did play a Father John Misty cover last time he was here, can he become the Aussie Father John Misty? You know a former drummer that seems bigger than his former band? I don’t know about that this time, maybe next time Mike don’t have the darkest and Francis Bacon like cover, a bright pink cover might be better. It’s his first step away for just being the drummer and pretty great album too. Please have a little listen and see what you think too.