"This debut CD from Ithaca based foursome The Small Kings brings to mind the hip groove of compatriot Donna the Buffalo. The rootsy melodies and harmonies... are sweet and joyful." --Mark Bialczak, Syracuse Post-Standard
"A genre-defying collection of ten original songs with a danceable groove and memorable lyrics." --Pamela Goddard, Ithaca Times
"Very entertaining listen... A true labor of love." --Dustin Stuhr (Urban Horse Thieves)
"It's better than chocolate!" --Amy Garbincus (Skunks and Roses)
"They are the complete non-drama, happy-vibe band!" -- Jiamie Pyles
The Small Kings have been a part of the Ithaca music scene for over eight years. During that span, they have played most venues in town and developed a wide repertoire of original music and tasteful covers.
The CD is a combination of old Small Kings standards, plus a handful of songs that written in a flurry of creativity when Joel Blizzard (Thousands of One) first joined the band. These songs began to take shape as the band rehearsed regularly with Blizzard and keyboardist Benjamin Costello. “Tale of Innocent Beginnings” and “Brooklyn” were born as extended jams and were then rounded out with lyrics from Blizzard’s poetry notebook. Another handful of songs are McCaffrey’s. He has a knack for putting together very original pop tunes, beautiful songs that flow in a series of movements. “Stained Glass Window” and “Renard Fogo” are two of these, companion songs of sorts. There’s a lot of collaborative songwriting here, like “Comfort in Between,” which Levy and McCaffrey wrote together. “Blacktop Down” was another collaboration, written by McCaffrey and Raponi about Blizzard’s budding relationship.
EATING ORANGES AFTER DARK was recorded with Will Russell at Electric Wilburland studio (Newfield, NY), and right from the start it was clear that he was a great fit for the band. Not only did he match the band's sense of humor pun for pun, but he was also very complimentary and knew just how to get them to relax and at the same time attack their performances with sharp attention. Though they'd practiced “Brooklyn” over and over leading up to the sessions, their performance of the song at Wilburland was by far superior to anything they’d ever done. That’s a testament to Will. Actually, they'd never even planned to record it, since it’s such a sprawling jam. But the band had a little extra time on their hands, and it worked out perfectly. Later on, Will explained that he would play the track for potential clients as an example of what’s possible at his studio. That was as good a compliment as they could ask for.
The cover art was contributed by Dave Palmer, an Ithaca College grad who went on to create the famous “Blue” character from “Blue’s Clues.” Dave’s currently an animation director for another hit kids show, “The Backyardigans.” The band gave him a copy of the music to serve as inspiration, and he sent them a series of sketches that he came up with. The problem was that they liked a bunch of them, and just couldn’t settle on one. So the Small Kings decided to go for the “Let it Be” concept. That is, they went with four images set aside in boxes.