For the most part Animal plays out like one long, brutal tough-love intervention, with King himself squirming in the hot seat. Some fans may squirm a little, too, as the album finds King purposefully straying very much outside of his usually more sonically conservative country comfort zone. Doubtless most of these songs could have been presented just fine with standard acoustic singer-songwriter arrangements, but John Ross Silva’s production — packed full of Scott Davis’s lead guitar and Wade Josey’s brooding synth work — keeps King on edge the whole way through, his voice scrambling and sometimes outright straining for purchase against the imposing wall of sound. The results may not always make for easy listening, but they more than live up to King’s developing rep as one of the Texas music scene’s most compelling agent provocateurs — not to mention the album’s name and cover art: This Animal ain’t no pussy cat.
- RICHARD SKANSE, LONE STAR MUSIC MAGAZINE
It's no secret that the album is a dying art form in music. Most artists today favor compiling collections of singles into one package over something that has a cohesive flow and tells a story. The saddest part of this all is that it's a widespread problem in all genres of music – country, rap, pop, rock, you name it. That's what makes an album artist like Chris King so important in today's music world...
...delivers a masterpiece with his sophomore album, Animal. This is the type of music that you really have to let absorb you, because once you do you'll become involved on a musical journey of love, loneliness, and redemption.
- ZACKARY KEPHART, WNIA / NIAGRA UNIVERSITY
Music at it’s very core is about storytelling. It’s about conveying thoughts and emotions. The true music, art if you will, connects with the listener at their emotional core and it moves them in a way that it can be really hard to describe...
It’s the journey of a man exploring love, discovery, overcoming mistakes, the unknown and ultimately what we’re all looking for in this crazy thing we call life. Most albums are just a collection of songs, not really all connecting with each other. Sure you’ll find a lot of albums with similar themes and tones throughout, but very rarely do you come across albums that connect from start to finish like Animal does.
- JOSH SCHOTT, COUNTRY PERSPECTIVE
The January 2013 release of 1983, his first full-length, was just enough of a breakthrough to get Austin songwriter Chris King a nice string of road gigs, a decent chunk of regional radio action, and a burgeoning band called The Liberators. It’s a grand record and deserved even more, but progress is progress. Thus encouraged, King headed back into the studio on the barter system, armed only with a Gibson Hummingbird and a sense that it’d be best to strike while the iron was hot. The resulting album, Native, feels more like a companion piece to 1983 than a full-fledged follow-up — perhaps “Something Less Formal” should have been the title track; it’s as down-to-earth and intimate as the approach would suggest. King’s not one to overwork himself on the guitar, letting simple but purposeful strums and fills carry the day, but he’s an expressive vocalist with a gritty, rangy tenor perfectly suited to the detail-oriented come-ons (“Wheelhouse”), laments (“Cadillac”), and honky-tonk narratives (“Antler Inn Ballroom”) on bare-bones display here. Most of these songs showed up in fuller form on 1983 or his previous EP releases, so perhaps Native (which King is only releasing digitally) is only essential to his fans … but really, there’s less and less reason not to become one.
- MIKE ETHAN MESSICK, LONE STAR MUSIC MAGAZINE
King sings in a distinctive tenor that strikes a sure-footed balance between youth and old-soul experience,
making his voice the perfect vehicle for exploration of a life caught in that dichotomy. Though he's of the Texas/Red Dirt scene, so to speak, his presentation bears little resemblance to any stereotypical "sound" you expect when you read that classification. His music is catchy and accessible, yet layered and soulful.
There isn't a throwaway track on the album. 1983 truly is the first really good true country album of the admittedly young year & will no doubt be a contender when it comes time to make my 2013 "best of" list.
- Kelci Salisbury, FARCE THE MUSIC
I called this album the first must have album of 2013 on Twitter a few days ago. But I firmly believe it.
1983 is a story in an album form. It is much more than a collection of songs. The songs range from love and heartbreak, growing up and facing real life and hometowns and being proud of who you are and where you came from. Real music, from a real place, that real people can relate to. Chris brings a level of honesty and emotion to his music that is becoming more and more hard to find.
- Brandon Meyers, TEXAS RED DIRT ROADS
Two songs into his full-length debut album 1983, country singer-songwriter Chris King delivers a lyrical
face-slap to the “me” generation: “Maybe if I was a modern man, then things would fall right into my hands. I wouldn’t ever have to think about anybody but myself,” he muses in “Native Son.” The rebuke is delivered
with enough charm to alleviate the sting, and highlights the sharp, plain-spoken observations that often flow from King’s pen.
This is country music. It hits on all the classic country themes without dumbing it down, name-dropping, or being about trucks. It's country because it's country, not because it has to prove its credentials.