The first time I heard ‘Loose Change’ — that slick, swaggering riff — I knew Royal Blood would be big. And it didn’t take them long to seriously get noticed either, with their two-man formation and unique bass guitar playing that renders a standard electric redundant. They’re a smooth duo that’s got alt rock fans in the palm of its hand. Although their later material hasn’t come too close to matching the mighty ‘Loose Change’, this new album, ‘Typhoons’, is brimming with belters and well worth discussing.
This just-dropped eleven-tracker boasts more electronics than their previous stuff. It’s a bit more playful in that way. The ultra-catchy ‘Trouble’s Coming’ opens the record and it ought to sound pretty familiar, because it was the first of the new singles that the lads shared. But when you’ve got the mighty ‘Typhoons’, Daft Punk-style licks of ‘Limbo’ and scuzzy ‘Boilermaker’, it fades into the mix a tad.
Of the unheard songs, ‘Oblivion’ slots neatly into this fuzz-rock-meets-experimental-electronics bracket, so you can bet on it being another standout. For synth fun, there’s ‘Million and One’, and if you’re ready to bop along to something, ‘Mad Visions’ deserves to be rinsed. They completely shake up proceedings with the final track though; ‘All We Have Is Now’ brings the tempo down entirely and just has a piano running alongside Mike Kerr’s vocals. It’s a different direction for them, in that it’s soft and slow, and not especially in keeping. But see what you think.
As someone who’s trying to detect comparisons between this and their debut album, ‘Who Needs Friends’ is a joy. Those meaty chords take centre stage and fewer electronics and pedals seem to be involved, so you get a hint of their original niche here. Very welcome. But that’s not to say Royal Blood’s funkier, slightly more mainstream blend of alt rock isn’t for me — it undeniably is.
If you only download one track, let it be: ‘Boilermaker’