Pete Lawler left Weddings Parties Anything (W.P.A.) after the release of 1993's King Tide. It seemed to be an amiable departure, as he later turned up on Michael Thomas' debut solo work. Perhaps he left the band in order to perform his own music, as W.P.A. albums were dominated by the very talented songwriter, Michael Thomas. Five years later, this solo debut is the result. While the title, King Rooster, is reminiscent of W.P.A., the rest of the album is not. Obviously influenced by the alternative rock scene, Lawler has traded in his folk influences for grunge influences. The problem is, he cannot carry it off. The album sounds forced, and pretentious. It is somewhat like Billy Bragg meets Nirvana. Even though W.P.A. member Michael Thomas recorded and engineered the album and plays on a couple of tracks, the music is lackluster and boring. "Ikea Blues" is about the only real highlight, while the rest of the songs just sort of run into each other with little or no distinction. The playing on the songs tends to be sloppy, perhaps in an attempt to sound grunge or garage, and Lawler's voice is not strong enough to carry an entire album. This is a real disappointment, given this artist's history and the fact that it was some years in the making.
AllMusic Review by Aaron Badgley