Raven King are a new band out of Rhode Island who are being touted as heralding the revival of grunge, but there’s more to them than that. “Art grunge” or “canned grunge” have also been terms used to describe the band’s debut self-titled album, but those terms are a bit hollow as well. Raven King are more dadaist, more Zappa-esque and definitely more complex than the stereotypical 90s grunge sound they’re being saddled with, and their first single off the album, “Drool” proves it.
“Drool” is a good entre into the world of Raven King, as it’s not too strange, unlike some other tracks on the album like “Skins” or album closer “Armilla”. While technically great, these more experimental and Frank Zappa-inspired tracks may scare off the melodic grunge rock set who came looking for the likes of Deftones or Soundgarden. “Drool” is a nice marriage of melodic grunge and more experimental rock, as it operates in the framework of a standard rock song but deviates towards experimental in more obvious places like the guitar riffs and vocal melodies. Its chorus still has a great, rock-driven impact and the experimental stuff is more King Missle than Zappa.
The video for “Drool” seems to connote a dream world of sorts but may be a bit too obscure reference-wise. Again it’s nice intro into what Raven King want to get across. As for the rest of the album, it’s worth a listen even for grunge purists who, hopefully, will recognize the originality and interest that can be found in this unconventional approach to grunge and indie rock. As Raven King develop their sound, it will be interesting to see which way they go.