October 31, 2023

Don’t let the tag fool you – this is no hi-tech package of car-mounted electronic antenna wizardry (google it!), King Falcon are actually a new trio hailing from the Queens district of New York, dealing in clean modern rock with more than a touch of vintage guitar work. They remind me a lot of another young NYC band Connor Bracken and The Mother Leeds in that they have that same mix of youthful enthusiasm, hard-edged brashness, soulful swagger…again, imagine a cross between early Strokes (another NYC band) and the Hives, and you’ll get the picture – it’s great fun and a superb debut!

Musically, Everybody’s Down is an exhilarating blend of indie-rock freshness, garage-rock energy levels and classic rock swagger – these guys are happy to get in turns powerfully poppy, soulfully melodic, down-and-dirty rocky…a hint of boy-band even….but always with quality songs that are hugely catchy. The album narrates the classic teenage rock’n’roll tales of camaraderie, self-discovery, and the pursuit of dreams, and I foresee these guys becoming BIG!

King Falcon are (left to right): James, Michael, Tom

As teenagers, Michael Rubin (guitar, vocals) and James Terranova (was drums, now plays bass) from King Falcon were no strangers to the music scene, having started their journey playing in a band known as The Inoculated Canaries. Drawing inspiration from various genres such as Classic Rock, Pop, and Ska, the duo toured extensively around the local area, strutting their stuff before being joined by their close friend Tom Diognardi on drums, thus marking the evolution of their musical path – King Falcon was born. They had an early hit (Shake! Shake! Shake!) before the pandemic got in the way but eventually released a second single (When The Party Is Over), which secured them a recording contract with Mascot Records. .

Everybody’s Down brings you eleven slices of super-catchy indie, opening with the title track – a total sugar-rush of powerpop anthems and strutting riff-based Strokes-like indie rock. The song’s catchy, feel-good vibes speak to its empowering lyrics. One standout passage is: I was an outcast long as I remember/On every chain, yeah, the weakest link/You get your ass kicked and learn not to surrender/Don’t give a damn what the people think. “That song’s message is sort of the foundation for the album, about this outcast person always looking for somewhere to be comfortable,” Michael says. (It’s called teenage angst?)

It’s followed by the supercharged garage-meets-indie Ready Set Go, straight out of the Hives catalogue but also with a touch of Black Keys blues-punk dirt, capturing the bustling essence and urban vibes of King Falcon’s hometown. It’s great, and watch out for the incendiary burst of guitar! Cadillac is next, it actually describes a true “Ferris Bueller-like” joyride with a buddy’s rare 1957 Eldorado Cadillac. “Long story short, I got to drive this beauty with no brakes, no plates, and a flat tire—everybody, including the cops, waved as I cruised this spaceship around the neighborhood,” Michael says. Then we have Set Me Free, simply a slice of classic powerpop with a huge chorus.

Next up is the totally bonkers Rabbit Gets The Gun, boasting a deliriously fun sing-along chorus, colourful electro-pop textures, and driving bass and drums-dominated verse passages, describing a sort of temporary inversion of power – “all the outcasts and weirdos rising up” as Michael puts it – all packed into three minutes. I begin to suspect these guys can write these radio-friendly powerpop classics with their eyes closed!

Soul Sucker is further evidence of this, these songs are all basically three minutes of radio heaven. Staccato bursts of guitar alternate with another huge chorus. Ride features some almost sleazy, definitely razor-sharp lyrics allied to another edgy Strokes-like arrangement, not to mention some very tasty licks to top it off. Very accomplished all round.

Next up is My Name Is, very down and in the groove, it sounds like some tasty organ-work in the background giving it that funky, bubbling sound. Yet another anthemic chorus-line sparring with the kind of guitar work you’d expect from a seasoned blues-rock player. Touch is sort of more of the same, this is where a hint of “boy band vibe” lingers? On Your Soul has a nice, almost tremolo vibe to the guitar, another brief but assured guitar solo – I do like Michael’s confidence in his musicianship on display here, and it continues through into the album’s blues-tinted closer Go On.

It occurs to me that Michael might be a guitarist first and vocalist second – but hey, these guys are young, they have a long and bright future in front of them and I for one have great hopes and expectations for how his voice develops away from the slightly “boy band vibe” as they get older? That’s not a big criticism, it’s more of a positive pointer towards their undoubtedly promising natural development. One things for sure, they’re excellent song-writers, way beyond their years. As debut albums go, they don’t get much better than this!!