From the moment of Royal Blood’s self-titled debut seven years ago, the Bristolian duo’s rise was meteoric. Their music is simple, brutal, and effective – taking inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes and combining big hooks, tasty riffs, and volume to full effect. This beefed-up take on indie rock can only take you so far though, so on the new album Typhoons (Warner Records), they looked toward Dance and Disco to broaden their sound.
A risky move not easy to pull off and an easy way to alienate fans. They looked toward Daft Punk and Justice and the results speak for themselves, first up being the tight groove, snappy beat, and stabbing synths of ‘Trouble’s Coming’. Some of the choruses here are huge, none more so than the larger-than-life title track – with Ben Thatcher’s bouncy, 1983 era ZZ Top drumming and a lively Dance Rock riff reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age’s last album Villains. Which is no surprise seeing as Josh Homme produced ‘Boilermaker’ – an irresistible, clap happy rocker whose bass squawks at you like Villains track ‘The Way You Used To Do’.
Inspiration was drawn from Mike Kerr’s recent sobriety, the partying lifestyle had taken a toll on him. This brought a determination to make Typhoons a success and is reflected in the lyrics. “Wake up every morning, almost surprised I survived” Kerr sings in the ominous yet foot-tapping ‘Limbo’, a grower of a track with swirling keys and a deliciously creepy, almost slasher-like outro. “Can’t live like this forever, running out of lifelines” he warns us in the forceful ‘Oblivion’, that like ‘Limbo’ accentuates the band’s sense of menace with electronic elements. After the catchy bundle of energy ‘Hold On’ comes the final track and the biggest departure, a sombre piano ballad entitled ‘All We Have is Now’ – which is a misstep albeit an admirable and genuine one.
The risk paid off, Typhoons is a marvelous album whose broadened scope really helps it fizz and crackle with life. The extra elements definitely add to their sound, not detract from it as feared.
Get your copy here: http://royalblood.me/typhoons
8 / 10