[sic] Magazine

The Boo Radleys – Kingsize, Expanded Edition

Kingsize was the Boos sixth and most pastoral album. It was also their final work. Interest in the band had dwindled since their breakthrough hit, ‘Wake Up Boo’ with Creation favouring Oasis and the public apathetic to the C’mon Kids album. Clearly Martin Carr found the whole process hugely unsatisfying. (See interview) What we’ll never know is whether or not any thoughts of calling it a day permeated into this recording. It’s a little too easy to assume Kingsize to be a document to a band falling apart.

It’s a pity because Kingsize is a lovely record. Where some see it as jaded I hear maturity and a reflective quality. Sice’s usually buoyant vocal is now rich and emotive. Carr laments reaching his late twenties. A softer sheened Boo Radleys, present themselves as worldly wise and contemplative. This isn’t to say Kingsize is a gentle record. The Boos were still full of ideas. ‘Blue Room In Archway’ is a terrific example of this with Drum and Bass beats emerging, believe it or not, from strings and a wistful verse exploding into chorus. They’d always been an ideas band but C’mon Kids included everything but the kitchen sink. On Kingsize, less is more. There’s less emphasis on noise, less inclination to shock and this allows Kingsize to pack more emotional punch.

The centerpiece (although it’s up fourth) is ‘Monuments For A Dead Century’- certainly a critique of the Millennium Dome. The break here on “blame someone else” is just beautiful making Monuments one of my favourite Boo Radleys tracks. Indeed Kingsize itself is my second favourite Boos album. Odd to think that the two albums I prefer are titled Giant Steps and Kingsize. Can we read anything into those names I wonder? This record is a delight from start to finish with jauntier pieces interspacing the more downbeat material. If its destiny is to remain synonymous with The Boo Radleys splitting then it is the sound of a band letting go with dignity and grace – a band going out on a high. I likened C’mon Kids to The Beatles , Magical Mystery Tour. Kingsize would have to be their Abbey Road.

~This expanded Cherry Red version is remastered with new sleeve notes and three bonus tracks. No additional discs this time. I’m guessing the extras came from the Free Huey single but tacked onto the end of the album I was concerned it might break the mood. I needn’t have worried, the extras work seamlessly.~

Giant Steps re-issue

Wake Up! re-issue

C’mon Kids re-issue

Martin Carr Interview

Cherry Red