Kung Fu Jesus mixes whimsical tone with anti-authority lyrics on intriguing ‘Celestial Gold’
Kung Fu Jesus might be one of the hippest bands you’ve never heard.
Hailing from “The Shire, Scotland,” this pop act recently released it’s latest record “Celestial Gold,” that features a mixture of songs that cover serious topics while somehow being able to stay breezy and fun. One song, for instance is about playing a pawn in a broken system. Another is about Big Brother controlling our smartophones. Another yet, the first track in the three free-sample songs on SoundCloud, is about finding celestial gold at the end of a rainbow.
You’ll hear parts that sound like The Cure, Beck, Iggy Pop and The Beta Band, throughout. Kung Fu Jesus also likes to mix eclectic genres, from rock to reggae to World music to salsa and dance. It all fits a particular feel, though, even if the genres are widely diverse.
The best of the three tracks, hands down, is “Smartphones,” just based on the lyrics alone.
In it, the lead singer, Craig Snape, starts off connecting government spies with cell phone use, something that seems to go forgotten these days by most media. It’s a song that really strikes a powerful chord due to it’s truthful, “I don’t give a shit” attitude it takes with the song. It’s also the most 1980s feeling track on the album. It’s got a distinct Depeche Mode vibe to it that only extenuates the tone the lyrics pull from it’s listener.
“Smart phones, dumb motherfuckers, recording everything we say or do,” he sings “We’re living in a slave nation, when you gonna open your eyes? Open Your Eyes.”
What I appreciate about these songs is that each of them have a certain amount of rebellious, Fuck-the-Man, kind of message to them without losing their carefree feel.
It’s almost as if Billy Idol decided to start covering Rage Against the Machine songs on his next album. Granted, Kung Fu Jesus sounds nothing like either of those two acts, but I feel the comparison is apt because while a song like “Monkey Man” sounds like it could’ve come from an 1980s pop radio station, if you pay attention to the lyrics you’ll hear Snape singing about how it feels to be a pawn in a system that’s rigged for those with deep pockets.
He starts, “Wrap me in a suit, make it look cute. Give me a big bank account. And I’m sure we an work this out. Put a gun in my hand, but I’m still just a monkey man. You want the deal you follow the plan, monkey man.”
It’s a dynamic message for such a carefree-sounding song, but it works well.
If there was anything to nit-pick about, it’d be that with a name like Kung Fu Jesus, you don’t exactly expect to hear thought-provoking messages wedged into the songs. Before I heard one word I was expecting something perhaps akin to the Bloodhound Gang here, but, I was pleasantly surprised.
The band already has received quite a bit of attention across the pond where they had a song featured in the hit BBC show “Being Human,” played with King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut of Oasis fame, and was featured on the Tom Robinson show on BBC Radio 6. They also have had two songs featured on the Emmy Award-winning documentary “King Lines,” a movie that follows Chris Sharma on his, “Ultimate global quest to redefine the possible in the vertical world,” according to IMDb.
Overall I’m insanely intrigued by what Kung Fu Jesus can do and may look at purchasing the entire album to hear the rest of the tracks in all their quirky, yet poignant glory.