Album Review: Royal Blood – Royal Blood

Royal Blood

royal_blood_album Released August 26th 2014

Royal Blood seem to have shot into my life almost out of nowhere. The reason for this is probably that I would normally think this was to heavy for my tastes. It  was a chance hearing that turned my head earlier this year and it was there and then that I stopped dead in my tracks and said “oh my!”

Oh My Indeed! This album is short, sweet and takes no prisoners as it punches its way through track after track. I’ve read comments this week that they’re not original and that they were “put together” at a music school. Well to be honest who the hell cares ? Go find me something truly original, especially within the realms of rock music. This album will be too heavy for some, not heavy enough for others but what it is doing is clearly showing that there really is a change in the tide again for popular music. It is all becoming a little bit like the early 90s.

That’s not to say that Royal Blood is an album that feels old or worn. It doesn’t. To me this album feels fresh and gives me a kick up the backside. I still love the beauty of folk and acoustic sounds, I still love the jingle jangle guitars of indie and still indulge in a little electronic production too. But Royal Blood have reminded me how much I love a good nasty bass line and the heavy clash of cymbals all served over the thud of the bass drum.

The very first note on the album comes from Out Of The Black and it always makes my heart begin to race. It sets our the band’s intentions from that very second. It’s an opening track that screams “I will not be ignored”. The remainder of the album goes on in a similar fashion.

Mike Kerr has a vocal that could lend itself to a verity of genres but it has something sexual about it that  adds that necessary last ingredient for a good rock band. There is no screaming here, no shouting either, just a hint of a slur and the spit of lyrics that make this album and this sound just that little more accessible.

Of course it helps that tracks like Figure It Out have been constructed in a way that makes it hard for Royal Blood to be ignored. It isn’t just the lyrics, the vocal or the music, it’s the combination of all three, combined in the way that they have been, that makes it so unavoidable. They use classic rock writing techniques, indeed there’s little new here as we’ve already said. They use a standard pop song structure again making it accessible. There’s nothing scary and there’s nothing that they can’t reproduce in a live setting.

Production on this album is great too, it’s not removed any of the rawness of the performance. Yes it’s crisp and yes it’s been mixed but you can still feel the raw energy, especially when you turn it up loud. It’s really important that a band like this can have an album that showcases their live sound as well as their song writing ability. I’m in no doubt that this band will end up being in the top five of my favourite live performances of the year.

Talking of live I can’t really go by without mentioning Little Monster. Drummer Ben Thatcher says it’s his favourite to perform live because of the crowd reaction and I can totally understand that. For I, as part of the crowd, love seeing this live and I think it’s the lyrics to the chorus that people are latching on to as well as the, let’s face it, catchy as hell melody and riff.

Better Strangers is the longest track on the album and best saved for last too. With only the first and last songs being over 4 minutes long the band have cleverly bookended their roller-coaster ride of an album. Better Strangers has a chorus that is so sexually charged that it practically writhes and lashes around leaving the track exposed with sweaty and breathless abandon.

Listening to this album reminds me of the excitement I felt the first time I listened to The White Stripes, BRMC, QOTSA and sometimes also Rage Against The Machine. I guess I’ve always had a little bit of love for the darker side and this is feeding it as though I’ve been starved.

 

Watch the video for Figure It Out here:

Watch Little Monster live at Reading 2014 here:

 

 

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  1. […] Of The Black is the next single to be taken from Royal Blood’s number 1 self titled album of 2014. Royal Blood were one of our stand out bands from 2014 with their live shows and album […]

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