Reading-based indie pop outfit Rocket Kings present their full-length album ‘Paving The Way’, previewed by a playful video for the title track. With 12 tracks on offer, this is the band’s sophomore album, loaded with original material. Expect top tunes, ukuleles, melodies, harmonies – like a sweet cocktail of The Beautiful South, Belle and Sebastian and The Cranberries.

Formed in 2016, Rocket Kings are a 5-piece made up of Dave Stewart (ukulele, vocals), Bex Crossland (vocals, ukulele), David Heath (drums), Jess Tuthill (ukulele, vocals), and Yoshiko Nakayama (bass). United by their love of music, their positivity is infectious through the upbeat, original pop-rock songs they perform. With three ukuleles in their line-up, along with bass and drums: this is ukepop as you’ve never heard it before!

The ‘Paving the Way’ album was recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered at Creative Control Studio by Josh McCrohan in Bracknell, who has become a really important factor in Rocket Kings’ sound. Dave Stewart produced this record together with McCrohan, who has worked with Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull, Echo & The Bunnymen, Squeeze, Paul Young and Fairport Convention, among others.

“We are really excited to share this album with people. It is chock full of Rocket Kings signature sounds and, as with our first album, these 12 songs are laden with top tunes and harmonies. The overall sound is perhaps a little more rocky this time around, and we regularly use overdrive and phaser pedals. We even have trumpet on a couple of tracks,” says Dave Stewart.

“The song arrangements were more collaborative this time around, partly because we feel like we are all playing better than ever as a band and we feed off each other with creative ideas. Also partly because the band found themselves with time to meet up just after Covid without gigs to practice for. Amongst other things, there are songs about space (a regular theme for the band), yellow birds, missing museums, faithful dogs, tall tales and the Berlin Wall.”

‘Paving the Way’ follows on from Rocket Kings’ 2021 album ‘Everyday Adventures’. The band debuted on the music scene with ‘The Spellbound EP’ in 2018. Their influences are diverse, ranging from Teenage Fanclub, Lou Reed and The Kinks to The Wedding Present, Status Quo and The La’s. The band also recently shared a series of demos (from 2016), called ‘Intense Whirlwind’.

The ‘Paving the Way’ album is out now, available digitally and also on limited edition vinyl and CD via Bandcamp. The album will also be available via other fine digital outlets, including Spotify and Apple Music.

01 Fading Star
02 She’s Going to Mars
03 Damn Tired
04 The Yellow Bird of Fortune
05 Far From Home
06 Dream Undream
07 Paving the Way
08 We’ve Really Got a Good Thing Going
09 Say it with a Smile
10 Tall Tale Teller
11 The Time of Our Lives
12 The Ballad of Caroline and Walter

All songs written by Dave Stewart except ‘Damn Tired’ and ‘Say it with a Smile’, which were written by Jess Tuthill
Recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered by Josh McCrohan at Creative Control Studio in Bracknell
Produced by Dave Stewart and Josh McCrohan
Bex Crossland sang, played the ukulele, piano and tambourine.
Greg Forys played bass.
David Heath played the drums.
Dave Stewart sang, played the ukulele, shaker and tambourine.
Jess Tuthill sang and played the ukulele.
Richard Vanryne played trumpet on ‘The Yellow Bird of Fortune’ and ‘Say it with a Smile’.
The choir on ‘The Time of Our Lives’: Ben Ash, Nicola Blair, Jude Brindley, Dawn Challis, Chris Clements, Anna Freshwater, James Gildersleve, Jason Helmore, Ruth Horbury, Alison Hull, Jane Jones, Stella Murphy, Barbara O’Donovan, Frances Osang, Zoe Robinson, Helen Savidge, Chris Taylor, Jayne Tricker, Alan Turner.
Front cover photo by Liz Pearmain