Every other month it seems some headline or some social media click bait is claiming “rock is dead.” Or so it seems. Folks that listen to anything mainstream will beg to differ – one such indie band that just might be the next heir to the rock throne is Little King. This mighty trio exudes all that they can in a goliath of songs in the thrilling EP Occam’s Foil. Where some fail, Little King prevails.
Little King is Ryan Rosoff (guitar, vocals), Manny Tejada (bass, backing vocals) and Eddie Garcia (drums, percussion). Occam’s Foil has five tracks: “Hate Counter”, “The Skin That I’m In”, “Forgotten Mile” , “The Foil” and “Nerve #8”.
Immediately the first track “Hate Counter” blitzes through the listener. Jarring lyrics like “stock the cages if you dare…I see your hate! You wear it well, so well, so well, you build the cages and the walls…all-American hell” spit-fire at the listener. This is about as political as the trio gets. Much of this sound and the extra added vocal punch – tag teamed by Rosoff and Tejada left me feeling the sound could be in the same arena as Disturbed, Metallica or even Slayer. The drums just kill it in “Hate Counter” and the tone is set from the get-go.
In track two, “The Skin That I’m In” it might come across that this is a completely different band. The first few stanzas have a stop-and-go acoustic guitar. The vibe is bright, feather-like. Then the bass meanders its way into the picture, and Rosoff’s voice is clearer, higher pitched than “Hate Counter”. The acoustic guitar pops up again – this time it has a more Spanish influence. The song’s bridge has a melodic violin. Rosoff sings “walls are thin, closing in” and as a listener, I felt the intimacy of the song. Of all the tracks, after a few listens, this one touched my soul the most. Perhaps it’s just the mood I’m in, or the way that that this song has a controlled chaos. This song reminded of feeling like you have a decision to make, and. maybe you’re experiencing an anxiety attack. The way the song dipped and goes from a buoyant acoustic guitar, to Flamenco, to violin represented some sort of internal struggle.
Track three is “Forgotten Mile”. It’s the most pop-rock sounding of the bunch and Rosoff again shows off his vocal prowess and range. When Rosoff emotionally sings “now I wander endless night and day” I felt like I was on that journey with him and completely entrenched within the songs pulse.
The guys flip the playbook again in the kooky “The Foil”. It’s an unexpected jumpy song that has fun basslines and yet again strings. I feel like I’m not mentioning Garcia’s drum work enough in this review and it’s mainly because he does such a good job of it, it’s effortless. He’s like a hidden figure in the trio, but really keeps the funk and flow going in “The Foil”.
Lastly, “Nerve #8” finishes out the EP in a most unexpected way. After grooving and feeling like Rosoff and Tejada had such a great teamwork with their vocals going, “Nerve #8” is of all things, an instrumental. Now, if that isn’t ballsy and rock star, I don’t know what is.