Royal Blood Returns With Rocking And Dance Heavy New Album Typhoons
4.6 out of 5 stars
This was the most anticipated album of the year, for me, I would have to say. It’s not that Royal Blood is my favorite band releasing an album this year, but the fact that they have only released two albums in about 7 years before this album came out this last week (4 years since their last), has meant that there is a built up anticipation for new music from this British rock duo.
With that said, I think that this album delivers on a LOT of that anticipation even though a couple of spots in the album are a little off the mark for me.
First, I start with the bright spots…
“Boilermaker” definitely sounds a bit like a Queens of the Stone Age song (probably because the lead singer, Josh Hommes had a hand in producing this album), but hey, that’s not a bad thing by any means. It just gives off that vibe.
“Typhoons” is all about the feelings that cause drug and alcohol abuse. The song rips through in an upbeat, almost happy tempo, but talks about turning to “chemicals” to “numb the pain.” It’s certainly a dark self-reflection released through a jamming rock song.
“Who Needs Friends” is also a pretty awesome song as well, and it is definitely indicative of the new attitude that the band is taking towards themselves and their fame. I think this may be my second favorite song on the album, but it’s hard to choose.
The album ends in a solo performance by singer Mike Kerr on piano with the song, “All We Have Is Now.”
There aren’t really any bad songs on this album, and the entire experience is very on par with their first two albums.
However, the couple of things I find a bit out of place are the various places where backup vocals are added leading to a bit of an overproduced feel, and the overall album seems to have a bit of high-fidelity sound to it that is kinda cool in places but in others it just makes the songs seem like a pop song or a dance rock song.
I am not saying that any of those decisions to go in the direction of a bit more of a poppy sound is a bad thing for the quality of the music, but for my personal tastes, it just doesn’t quite fit the mold for this band.
I somewhat liken it to what I can only describe as the “Filter effect.” Though Royal Blood is by no means going to the same depth as Filter did.
Let me explain...
A few years later, when they released their next album, they had almost flipped their musical stylings when they released a song called “Take My Picture.” You can listen to the two songs back to back to see what I mean.
Basically, Filter isn’t the only time this has happened, but it is one of the most shockingly divergent examples of a band who is known for putting out great hard rock music going into a pop direction.
I am not saying Royal Blood has done this with their new album, but there are hints of the album throwing in these little suggestions of pop falsettos, backing vocals, different instrumentation and digital samples to give it a bit of a different feel than former albums.
All that being said, when you listen to this album, you are going to definitely get a typical Royal Blood album in a lot of ways, and the fact that it has been 4 years since their last album and Kerr having battled his own demons and becoming sober (as mentioned in his Instagram post for the release of this album), means that there will be some changes for the good and some changes that will make the future of Royal Blood different in ways that may not suit every fan.
And that’s totally okay by me. I will keep listening if they keep rocking this hard.