King Stingray

King Stingray

King Stingray’s debut album sees the Australian quintet celebrate the country in all its forms. That’s clear in both the opening valentine “Sweet Arnhem Land” and the more wary “Camp Dog,” inspired by canines patrolling the band’s hometown of Yirrkala. Even more prominent is “Let’s Go,” which recounts the sense of escape granted by hitting the Central Arnhem Highway. Singing in both English and Yolŋu Matha languages, Gumatj man Yirrŋa Yunupiŋu leads the band through surf-influenced rock anthems honoring First Nations culture at every turn. Psychedelic guitar licks are just as prevalent as yidaki (didgeridoo) passages, while wooden clapsticks flank memorable basslines. Yunupiŋu and lead guitarist Roy Kellaway both grew up with family members playing in the innovative ’80s and ’90s ensemble Yothu Yindi, who seamlessly blended a contemporary rock and reggae sound with ancient songlines. A similar balance is very much in place for King Stingray, as is the marriage of social conscience and accessible themes found in classic Midnight Oil. The band’s 2020 debut single, “Hey Wanhaka” (included here), saw Yunupiŋu declare, “I stay true to my roots,” and this album generously shares that pride of place with the world at large.


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