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The Way to Salvation

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Album Review

King Missile's initial stab at the world of major labeldom was fair if not great — lacking absolute standout numbers like Mystical S**t's genius "Jesus Was Way Cool" and "Gary & Melissa," The Way to Salvation is enjoyable enough but lacks a final killer touch. Having Lou Giordano on production instead of Kramer is also a bit disconcerting — he's a great producer, of course, but the crisp focus that he brings takes away from the warmer feel of Kramer's work on the earlier records. Still, much of the core fun that King Missile brings to the table stays intact: Hall's blissfully funny lyrics and shaggy-dog stories, the group's collective hops and skips through a variety of musical styles, and a generally upbeat vibe. David Ramirez from Hypnolovewheel, presumably brought in part since Giordano also produced them, does a fine job holding down the drumming while Xefos and Rick make all the right noise as needed. Hall's spoken-word approach comes to bear most fully on the two-part "The Boy Who Ate Lasagna and Could Jump Over a Church," which rather unsurprisingly details the activities of that very individual. Other weird winners include "Willy," the story of how one regular guy spends the day of the Apocalypse; "I Wish," for the combination of Hall's wishes and the descending-chord glam-punk music; and the slow-building album-ender "To Walk Among the Pigs," an almost gentle reflection on the simpler things in the world, at least through porcine eyes. "Life," which starts by praising "exhilarating smells" and then moves on through a concise vision of the universe and its biological ways, somehow sums it all up — loud, rocking, not quite normal but not quite anything else either.


Formed: 1986 in New York City, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Essentially a vehicle for the musings of John S. Hall, King Missile merged off-kilter spoken word monologues with eclectic, mildly psychedelic rock & roll. Hall's dry, absurdist sense of humor colored much of the group's output, blurring the lines between comedy, Beat poetry, narrative prose, and simple rock lyrics. Yet in spite of their focus on Hall's literary bent and all its New York artiness, King Missile was most definitely a band, and relied on music to play a much more than perfunctory role...
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The Way to Salvation, King Missile
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