There are bands with hype around them and them there are Royal Blood. Since forming in 2012, the Brighton duo have rocketed up the British rock ladder, gaining scores of fans on an almost daily basis, those including Radio 1’s new music mogul Zane Lowe and the Arctic Monkeys (AM drummer Matt Helders specifically requested a Royal Blood t-shirt to wear during their headline set at Glastonbury in 2013). But nine times out of ten, bands that accumulate so much build-up before releasing anything substantial are simply being set up for a fall. On their self-titled debut, Royal Blood are that rare one time out of ten.
Their formula is simple but oh so effective; take as many massive riffs as you can, add in some hooks and huge choruses and you’ve got a winner. And while it’s hard to think of a time where there have been more two-pieces raiding their Zeppelin stores for an album than today, there’s something about Royal Blood that just gels a lot easier than the others. Maybe it’s the obvious pop elements that have been intrinsically fused with the tsunami of riffs, or maybe that it manages to be even more stripped down than the rest of the duos treading the boards today due to the only instruments used on the whole record being drums, bass and vocals. Though the fact that such huge Herculean riffs are produced by a bass guitar, and that the entire was recorded by just two dudes makes the whole thing even more impressive.
It’s the true definition of a crossover album – an album that would appeal to most rock fans but would easily be able to worm its way into the zealous of pop fans collections. Out Of The Black and Figure It Out are pretty much guaranteed pension plans, whereas Ten Tonne Skeleton suggests that there’s definite potential to fill arenas in a couple of albums’ times. In fact, it’s hard to pick any highlights from the album, such is the continuous high quality that runs through the ten tracks. Loose Change is already a bona fide festival anthem, while the colossal Little Monster makes it almost impossible to believe that this is a band comprised of only two members.
There’s something about Royal Blood which just makes them seem like the best band on the planet. It’s not their originality, because there’s very little of that – bands have been doing riff-driven heavy rock for many years and they’ll be doing it for many more – but there’s just something that makes it feel absolutely incredible. That’s not an attempt to diminish their efforts by any means – it is an incredible album that showcases a band with a massive, massive level of talent. This is one big middle finger to anyone who claims that rock is dead, and Royal Blood are the ones ready to make a difference.
For fans of: Queens Of The Stone Age, The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin
Words by Luke Nuttall