Spring is coming folks, time to sweep your floors, open the windows, rearrange your furniture, books and CDs, and play some optimistic, carefree, rainbows-in-the-sky music. Don’t worry – we’re not talking about Mika, because although Alex Winston shares his radio-friendly approach to pop music, the Michigan born songwriter shows on King Con that she wants to reach both artistic and popular success at the same time. The downside of that ambition is that her first album is never as ‘freaky’ as she wants it to sound, and not as catchy as Lily Allen or Florence.
The best attempts are the ones where the melody is not over-shadowed by asphyxiating instrumentation where Winston contains her love for vocal demonstrations, such as the dark opener ‘Fire Ant’, ‘Benny’ and the great colourful hit single ‘Choice Notes’. But behind the cuteness of lyrics and teenage girl voice, it’s easy to realise that most of King Con wouldn’t catch our attention if it wasn’t for the big booted synths and piano, the heavy drum machines and the over-dubbed vocals (particularly on ‘Locomotive’ and the speedy carnival-like ‘Run Rumspringa’). There’s so much going on to distract you from focusing on the core of the song that it becomes suspicious. As for the need to play something during your time doing dishes or cleaning the house maybe King Con will do, but not for much else.