This British duo has been exciting rock fans everywhere. They’ve been named one of the best new acts of 2014 and their album received mass praise when it was released. Hearing so many good things about the band I knew I had to check them out. What I heard was an exciting record full of raw rock and roll songs. Their music may not stray much from the standard rock formula, but the tracks are at least energetic, loud, and full of sexy guitar riffs. It may not cause a revolution, but it will get you moving.
The band makes their presence heard with the opening track “Out of the Black.” It has this irresistible dirty, grungy sounding guitar riff that’s slowly reels you in. Because the music is so heavy, aggressive, and full it’s hard to believe it’s only two guys responsible for it. The way the symbols crash and the guitar snares along gets such an intense reaction that it’s only appropriate to start head banging. You can physically feel every note that’s played and you can’t help but move to it. Also, some of the visual lyrics are intriguing and clever: “I got a gun for a mouth and a bullet with your name on it/But a trigger for a heart beating blood from an empty pocket.” Something about that image is so vivid and awesome. It’s a great opener that let’s listeners know what type of ride they’re in for.
“Come on Over” follows the same raw sound established in the previous track, but the way the riff races along sucks you right in. What’s interesting is that the opening line says “I’m on a train going nowhere,” matches perfectly with the chugging music. It’s a detail that’s so easy to miss, but one that impresses the hell out of you when you catch it. The chugging continues on “Figure It Out,” which has more a Blues inspired sound. What I noticed on this song is it’s very reminiscent of the White Stripes. Something about the style and the guitar playing makes you think back to when the White Stripes shook up the world. Still, it seems to be more of an influence than a rip off. One of the best parts comes during the bridge where everything speeds up as if they can’t control it anymore. Concentrated madness is the only way to describe it.
The White Stripes influence comes back on “Blood Hands.” Here, you can’t help but notice how much singer, Mike Kerr, channels Jack White. Some have taken issue with this, but it’s not that big of a deal, especially since it doesn’t come out in every song. Also, Kerr has a pretty decent voice that he uses to his advantage on tracks like “You Can Be so Cruel” and “Careless.” This is another great example of the band’s exciting, vibrant music. It may not be that innovative or all that different from what we expect from rock music, but you can’t deny how damn good it is. By the time the song ends it leaves you unsatisfied and hungry for more. This would usually be a bad thing, but since they more than deliver in the next track it’s not that bad.
Though every song is great, “Little Monster” has to be the best on the album. Everything about it is pure sex. The music is dirty, sleazy, aggressive, and sexy. Kerr oozes with sensuality as he purrs “Hey little monster/tell me what’s on your mind.” The clever and vivid pops up once again here with the best line being “I got love on my fingers/lust on my tongue.” The thought of lust as a taste perfectly fits with the theme and he sounds so hungry for it, you’re ready to jump on him. The sexiness returns on “Loose Change” with a hot, irresistible guitar riff. Once again, the band is energetic and explosive here as Kerr coos “Cause all that glitters is gold/Till the glitter gets sold and the money don’t fold/Yeah, your money don’t fold.” The track nicely ends with the sound of change hitting the ground.
I’ve been reading other reviews of the album and the biggest criticism anyone can come up with is the music never deviates from the standard rock sound. Is that really a problem? Sure, the album won’t change the face of music, but shouldn’t it matter how good it sounds? When did raw rock music become a bad thing? I think the issue is there are so many bands (Muse, MSI) melding different sounds and genres together to get something different. Rock music has been going in this direction for a long time, especially with the popularity of electronic music. So many artists try to fit it in their new material to keep up with the trend. Personally, I think it’s refreshing to find a band that wants to get back to the nitty gritty of rock music. Some have been craving for that raw, exciting sound that’s been lacking in rock music. Royal Blood is obviously here to deliver. What drew me to the band is the attitude their music has. It’s just good fucking music. Does every band out there have to be revolutionary? If that’s the case then pop artists should come under the same criticism along with The Black Keys’ early discography.
Overall, the album gets 9.5/10. All I can say is it’s a good fucking record. There isn’t a bad song here, the music is always exciting, and there’s something to love about every song. From the luscious riffs to the crashing drums it’s clear the duo is talented. Their music is raw, their energy is abundant, and everything about them is so vibrant. They may stick to the classic rock n roll formula, but it just shows rock’s not dead after all.