Is King Bathmat the pseudonym of John Bassett or is John Bassett the pseudonym of King Bathmat?. Well, it doesn´t matter. After having read the biography of this guy you´ll know that he has a particular way of life and you´ll never know when he´s talking seriously or cheating. But the twelve songs included in “Son of a nun”, first album of this artist and one of the most interesting demos I´ve lately received, are very serious.
Looking at the backcover and the website of Bassett I didn´t trust on this album. I thought that it would going to be a sort of John Wesley or one of those folk-rock-prog songwriters, half hippie and half snob, who bore me a lot. Fortunately I was wrong because this guy doesn´t only sings and plays guitar. The album is entierely electric and should be taken from the demo´s limbo by a bigger or smaller label.
As I said, there are twelve tracks; twelve tracks with own spirit and lots of quality. Of course there are better and worse songs but the overall impression is good. The first track “Unfortunate Soul” (5:27), has a circus-like opening that could remind to The Beatles or Syd Barrett on a trip. Quickly a sharp riff transforms the song into a powerful and right-in-your-face track, with some spacey Hawkwind´s sounds and arrangements that reminds me of California´s psychedelia and sometimes of english neo-pop. I also find references to Porcupine Tree (“Lightbub Sun”) or the lastest Marillion. With this song one can imagine John´s style: short songs with rich arrangements and sweet melodies mixed with more powerful moments. The best songs are “Post Traumatic” (delicious melody), “The River Runs Wild”, “Virtual Cartoon”, “Not born to share”, the wonderful “Asking the Gods”, the instrumental joke “King of the Fairies”, or the great final track “No compromise”.
Unfortunately there are also songs that, well... I won´t say they´re bad themselves, but I´ll say that are out of what I consider the spirit of progVisions. Tracks like “Black Horizon”, “Uncle Remus”, “Beg & Steal” are energic and short songs with good arrangements but they´re closer to other terrains. Names as U2 or Blur come to my mind. Anyway, three or four bad tracks and eight or nine good tracks is a cool statistic if we´re talking about a debut album.