Bocephus King All Children Believe In Heaven

On this follow-up to the acclaimed previous release, The Blue Sickness, the enigmatic Vancouver native continues to break boundaries between traditional songwriting and modern aesthetics. From ten-minute opener "St. Hallelujah,” the most welcome difference is that King has put aside many of the poses that had him pegged as a Tom Waits wannabe. Although he still comes across as a figure straight out of cinema noir, the emphasis on melody within his personal take on the blues makes for a much more rewarding listening experience. With its masses of swirling guitars, "St. Hallelujah” indeed sets the bar high for the rest of the album, but King keeps pace for the most part, especially on the Dylan-meets-Phil Spector bombast of "Wreck of the Century,” and the dense Americana narrative "Goodnight Forever Montgomery Clift.” If there is one major drawback to the album, it’s that King may be too ambitious with his songwriting. However, that’s not exactly a fair reason to chastise him. It’s just that in a roots music world where perfect simplicity is the ultimate goal above all else, albums such as All Children Believe In Heaven take some getting used to. Perhaps it will help to change that. (Tonic)