Royal Blood: Royal BloodTuesday 26 Aug 2014
Label: Warner Bros
Duration: 33 minutes
Cooking up a seething cauldron of The White Stripes, Led Zep QOTSA and The Black Keys, Brighton duo Royal Blood were never going to win any prizes for bleeding edge originality. Their powerhouse debut confirms the on-going rock vogue for carefully rendered authenticity but for sheer abandon and sonic enjoyment it is one of the year’s strongest.
Guitarist Mike Kerr has strung his bass with guitar strings and fed the sound through amps and pedals for an impressive power-chording wallop while economic drummer Ben Thatcher lashes out with proto-blues fury. The comparisons with Arctic Monkeys (with whom they share management) are there on a short, sharp collection that spits and writhes.
It begins with the apocalyptic rumble of Out of The Black, a tale of a young man scorned which rejoices in the line “I’ve got a gun in my mouth with a bullet with your name on it.” and continues with a headlong rush to Hades. Come on Over (“I’m on a train going nowhere, I ran away to make you care”) slashes open with a circular riff like a saw buzzing through the undergrowth as Kerr hollers down the studio in his best Robert Plant, vacillating between hurt pride and rage.
It's mostly any colour you want as long as it's black but light and shade comes in a snatch of Nirvana-like harmonies on Little Monster and album stand out Ten Tonne Skeleton, which breaks down into a kind of phantasmagorical middle eight.
Mostly though Royal Blood are catnip for gnarled bluesmen and indie kids starved of a guitar band they can rally around. Maximum heaviosity. Play LOUD.
Tracklisting: Out of The Black - Come On Over - Figure It Out - You Can Be So Cruel - Blood Hands - Little Monster - Loose Change - Careless - Ten Tonne Skeleton - Better Strangers