Royal Blood - Royal Blood

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Royal Blood - Royal Blood

Alternative - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Warner Bros. - Distributor: Arvato Services - Released: 25/08/2014 - 825646244379

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Review of "Royal Blood - Royal Blood"

published 15/10/2015 | Cdarcy81
Member since : 12/05/2015
Reviews : 42
Members who trust : 50
About me :
I've taken to completing the penny per date challenge this year seeing as my favourite categories have been obliterated...26 Jan so 26p goes in the pot. Wishing you all well, Love and hugs xx
Super
Pro Clever not Gimmicky - Outstanding Debut - Critically Aclaimed
Cons Abrupt in Places
exceptional
Originality
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money
Lyrics

"A Right Royal Mosh Up"

Moody monotone and beautifully crafted album artwork.

Moody monotone and beautifully crafted album artwork.

PRODUCT PURCHASING & DETAILS

Price & Availability: Scouring the internet I see that there are digital downloads available from websites such as Amazon, HMV and iTunes. If like me though you like to actually hold the thing in your hands then I advise you to nip to your local music store, large supermarket or order from eBay. All of these outlets vary on price but if you set yourself a £12 budget I would expect you to get change.

Who Are Royal Blood? Mike Kerr as singer / bassist and Ben Thatcher on Drums

Where Are They From? Royal Blood were formed in Worthing in 2013.

Label Signed To: Warner Bros.

Producer: Tom Dalgety

Warning: There is the odd explicit lyric dotted throughout this album so perhaps not one for the family jaunt to the shops or road trip sing along. Not overtly bothered about the sparse peppering of potty mouth we opt instead to develop a chesty cough at choice moments, having now pretty much memorised the whole album.


INTRODUCING ROYAL BLOOD

Bringing new meaning to the term drum and bass this Brighton duo have catapulted themselves into the realms of Rock Royalty with this self titled debut album Royal Blood. Hard to believe there is no guitarist from the depth of sound created by Mike Kerr (singer/bassist) and Ben Thatcher (drums) the pair have received high praise indeed from critics and their peers alike, gaining famous and influential supporters in the form of Arctic Monkeys and Jimmy Page, placing the cherry atop their cake by winning Kerrang! Best British Newcomer.

It's difficult not to compare them to other duos in terms of sound with the obvious band coming to mind being The White Stripes. Yes, true to many music reviews they do sound very much like them at times but in true Ciao form I'm going to throw my tuppence worth in and say that listening to their lyric structure and content I am reminded of The Kills. Granted Royal Blood have no female singers but there is something in the timing and dark lyrics that sparks a similarity for me.

To describe their sound I would say it's grounded in bass in the basement, bluesy rock but heavier. There is a grit to it but not muddy or clouded with grunge, more clean and raw, edgy but not odd. Vocally not exactly groundbreaking or eccentric Mike instead has a terrifically attractive male voice. No mincing or lingering falsetto flourishes here, rather manly and emotive, just how I like it. The genius however is in the meaning and thought put into the lyrics and the powerful conversation between bass guitar and drums, pounding out their sentiment with punctuation in the form of percussion.


ALBUM ARTWORK

An advocate for less is more the monotone artwork speaks volumes to me as does the choice to use an uncoated, non-glossy paper stock for the insert. The content of the insert is very simple, setting out the lyrics of each song in a void of white space, textured with pale faded trees as a background. Now I don't often comment in-depth about the cover of albums but this particular one is award winning and therefore deserves a mention.

Winning Best Art Vinyl 2014 the design by Dan Hillier was inspired by the artist's trip to Peru and is entitled Falls. Forming part of a tetraptych [ 4 part piece of artwork ] the lady featured is Dan's interpretation of Mother Nature or Pachamama. Looking closely you can see her hair is made of stars with waterfalls cascading down her throat towards a thick forest across her body. Stunning in its detail it compliments the album beautifully, forming a most impressive debut in every way.


TRACK ANALYSIS

Under fire form the very start we open to a sinister barrage of instrumental bullets before the bass creeps up from behind with a malevolent and deep toned assault. Dark and foreboding the lyrics express the anger felt when we are double crossed Out of the Black or unexpectedly. As the bands debut single what a way to hit the ground running, with this feeling of fast paced escape almost palpable throughout the album.

Moving on from legging it on foot we are all aboard a freight train to nowhere. Not so much Johnny Cash in its locomotive rhythm, favouring the rapid pace of a modern day express train to that of a steam engine Come on Over is played out with a recurring chugging riff throughout. Throwing two fingers up at Christianity, "I went to church and stopped believing" there is a definite sense of turning away from faith and running away from a past life. This theme is explored more deeply further on in the album with both You Can Be So Cruel and Blood Hands. Having left the fold the loneliness has sunk in and resentment is coursing through his veins. The relationship breakdown is painful, depressing and isolating. Not guilty of riff pinching I must admit that You Can Be So Cruel is a dead ringer for Queens of the Stone Age stylistically whereas the crashing cymbals thrashing out sheer frustration, like a tantrumous teen clashing heads with his parents, the tone of Blood Hands is furious and full of resentment. "Spike your water your wine While you waste my precious time"

Sticking with the notion of motion and very much in a similar vein to Come on Over Figure it Out is progressive sounding with its 'chun, chun, chunny' repetitive riff. We have lost the seriousness here though, there is a definite air of garage band [ not the composing software but the genuine act of playing in a garage ], perhaps due to its simple and minimal structure. What we do experience is a masterclass in how to play one string to its absolute maximum effect. Cascading up and down throughout the neck of the bass there is not one inch of the E-string left untainted by this powerful grunt of a song with the clearest of pin sharp precision drumming.

Lifting the mood in much the same way as Figure it Out Little Monster is a homage to the skirt chasing, groupie munching antics of a bachelor about town. After all what is the best cure for loneliness...company of course. Suggestive of sex and luring in its tone this track describes the enticing of a target playing hard to get, offering many pleasures "love on my fingers, lust on my tongue" to a soundtrack of sliding bass glides and screaming string bends. Lets face it, who wouldn't succumb to temptation?

I'm going to dole out a warning with this track, not for any foul mouthed tirades but more about the VERY convincing coin spill at the end. The first time I heard Loose Change I really thought one of the kids had dropped their piggy bank on the kitchen floor! A metaphorical track comparing love to fortune and the resultant shine of a relationship wearing off. How new love starts off sparkly and new then slowly fades and fizzles out till you are left with a few dull pennies in your pocket. Further compounding the topic of splitting up Careless describes the turmoil and heartache of at first wishing to turn back the clock and get back together before feeling hopeless at the realisation that it's not going to happen. Sounding more uplifting than melancholy I get the feeling that by the end of the track our protagonist will be ready to get back on the hunt again. Thrumming in a deep undercurrent riff built upon and ended with a long reverberating and lingering stroke we are left with a mere moment of silence. The solitude in this moment is pure genius as it provides an anticipation, especially when you know what's next.

Ten Tonne Skeleton, perhaps Royal Blood's most definitive track to date is an absolute onslaught of sliding and pounding grit. Lyrically the most memorable and addictive. Strong in its beat and here very reminiscent of the White Stripes the instruments are sharply played, muffled in between notes. Broken midway by an eerie voice repeating "Ten Tonne Skeleton" over a simple cymbal muted tap the sinister feel is exaggerated by the low seething vocals and the abruptness of its conclusion.

Forgive my uncouth statement but oh my Better Strangers makes me frisky. Utter raunch in its sound I can't resist the urge to spin around the whirly-gig washing line like some scantily clad strip club beauty. Not quite as hot obviously in a pair of leggings and an oversized t-shirt but hey there's no-one home and I live rurally so really who am I hurting? At the very least a head flick of the hair or a bend and snap is in order here. Look at what your missing lady is the sentiment I take from this, it's your loss. I'm sure we have all been in a situation where we felt we would make Better Strangers with someone than friends. Sonic sounding waves of deep bends stacked upon quiet moments of solo drums makes for a most sensual sound, combined with flippant and sneering vocals. What is it they say? Treat them mean, keep them keen. I don't know how much I agree with that statement but there is something in the stone age notion of it that sparks a fire in my belly.

Falling back in my chair my heart rate has risen, a sure sign of becoming engrossed in the music and truly the only state that I find myself able to write about it. Left a little 'all dressed up and nowhere to go' I almost feel inclined to hit play once more but as the kids are off school I had better go do the day job!


TRACK LISTING & DURATION

01 - Out of the Black [ 4:00 ]
02 - Come on Over [ 2:51 ]
03 - Figure It Out [ 3:04 ]
04 - You Can Be So Cruel [ 2:44 ]
05 - Blood Hands [ 3:07 ]
06 - Little Monster [ 3:32 ]
07 - Loose Change [ 2:35 ]
08 - Careless [ 3:21 ]
09 - Ten Tonne Skeleton [ 3:07 ]
10 - Better Strangers [ 4:12 ]


OVERALL OPINION & RATING

Encore! Encore! Give me more! Abrupt in its finality and short in nature at a little over half an hour the album leaves me not unsatisfied at all but anxious to discover when we might hear from the duo again. Not quite sparking the fanatical lunatic in me yet I am curious about future releases and happy to support them by actually purchasing the music as opposed to listening for free.

I can't quite put my finger on why I am reluctant to give this album the full 5 stars, perhaps its lodged somewhere in the fact that I only have a few tracks to go on in forming an overall opinion of the band as a whole. Unfair of me really as the rating should be purely based on the standard of the product being reviewed. Okay so lets look at that, with only other similar artists to compare it too then no it is not head and shoulders above the rest but it does sit comfortably in their company, certainly not cowering or meekly giving a submissive smile to the competition. Therefore on this basis I will stick with my 4 stars for this confident start to a no doubt glittering future.


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Comments on this review

  • justarube published 13/08/2016
    Good review
  • shellyjaneo published 05/11/2015
    vh x
  • mikemelmak published 31/10/2015
    You are so good when writing about music - ( not that your other work isn't good ! ) . An easy E - great stuff!
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Product Information : Royal Blood - Royal Blood

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Alternative - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Warner Bros. - Distributor: Arvato Services - Released: 25/08/2014 - 825646244379

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EAN: 825646244379

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Listed on Ciao since: 25/07/2014