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Sons of Ken – Work All Nite Review

Work all night. Party all day. Do both with Sons of Ken. A debut release from the literal sons of men named Ken, Work All Nite provides four tracks of sturdy EP goodness. Homegrown magic from Spike Burridge and Michael Moran pair nicely with rising tones, synthesizer bliss and an EP that implements artificial intelligence, well, intelligently. See? Art is not doomed because someone out there can keep whipping up trailers of a movie or programme in the vague style of Wes Anderson. It can also be used for detailing images of Margaret Thatcher, spinning decks more successfully than Poll Tax. Midjourney AI creates cover horrors, and Sons of Ken creates rhythm-ready delights with tongue-in-cheek themes that benefit listener and artist well. 

Opener Work All Nite has that crisp groove quality to it, some latter-stage guitar work from Moran pulls it together nicely, while Burridge selects some robovox voice-changing undercurrents. Gorgeous stuff, lavishly put together and maintaining another titan, underground electronic release. Acid Klaus carried these strokes of electronic magnificence with characteristic charm on debut album Step On My Travelator and more recently You’re A Freak. Sons of Ken work just as laboriously as the underground Sheffield legend. Confidence is key and Work All Nite has an abundance of it. Little glitchy belters that come and go toward the end of that first track are nice touches, especially to those who have ground their way through a packet of coffee pods, labouring away and listening to nothing but LCD Soundsystem live sets as a way to maintain focus. 

Maintaining focus is no big deal for Sons of Ken though, who continue their good form on harsh-hitting funk follow-up, This is The Payback. Their electronic dance styling utilises those clear funk foundations well, a well-maintained second track that turns up the heat. Lengthy wonders that not only sound good but keep the mixtures fresh and fulfilling, the longevity a treat rather than trouble. But like any good worker, Overtime is around the corner. Strikingly different to a track that shares most of its namesake with the EP title, and rightfully so. It soon flows into what is expected of a do-over, a reflection on a track which first ended five minutes ago. Good on them. They are just normal men, these Sons of Ken, yet their tracks are anything but the norm.  

Even with that tour de force trio, Big Wendy is wrapping things up. Here Comes Big Wendy, presumably no relation to Big Julie from Jarvis Cocker’s debut solo record, is a nice bow to tie around a strong EP. Sons of Ken utilise the most important tool of all, best of all, in that final track. An 808 synthesiser. Pockets where the track ascends, builds with gorgeous extravagance and never looks back. Boisterous and confident as the whines and cries of an explosive final chapter to Work All Nite rally forth, Sons of Ken capture their mood and tone with aplomb. Burridge on the 808 is masterful stuff, an absolute ascension of feeling, while Moran cuts through with essential keyboard work. All in all, the Sons of Ken have done themselves and their electronic-seeking audiences proud. 

Buy a copy of Work All Nite here. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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