May 19, 2021
Web Exclusive

By Haydon Spenceley

Some bands take time to reach their potential. Others arrive primed and ready for world domination. Royal Blood were one definitely squarely in the second category. In a small club in the English Midlands in early 2014 my ears were joyously pounded by “Out of the Black,” “Come On Over,” “Figure It Out,” and more as gig-goers gazed at one another in open-mouthed wonder. Here was a band that should be playing to more than 50 people in a basement. Thankfully, their career trajectory has taken them to stadiums and huge festival crowds the world over in the intervening years and here we find them releasing a third album, with Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Benji Thatcher (drums) taking stock and re-tooling for their next sonic salvo.

What made Royal Blood special is still here in spades. There are riffs and choruses that will lodge themselves in your head for days on virtually every song. Singles “Trouble’s Coming” and the title track are especially strong in this regard, but others besides will go down as Royal Blood classics without a doubt. Take the drive in “Oblivion,” the pummeling focus of “Boilermaker,” and the crunch of “Mad Visions,” but one listen to the album confirms that here is a band maturing, here to stay, and shooting for the big rock and pop crossover leagues. Increased use of keys and loops on virtually every song add layers to their sound and will no doubt give ample possibilities for their live show when those are able to return (please, make it soon). Allied to Kerr’s intricate and yet powerful bass-riffing with his patented joint bass and electric guitar attack, there’s a straightening out of Benji Thatcher’s drum patterns which sees every song lock into an unshakeable groove. Where Royal Blood used to seek to slay with their power, here they’ve added nuance to their package, which provides an unshakably danceable album and a real sense of positivity and possibility for the band’s future. (www.royalbloodband.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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