1. Out Of The Black 2. Come On Over 3. Figure It Out 4. You Can Be So Cruel 5. Blood Hands 6. Little Monster 7. Loose Change 8. Careless 9. Ten Tonne Skeleton 10. Better Strangers
Release Date: 23 September 2014 Label: Warner Bros Records Tracks to Notice: Out Of The Black, Figure It Out, Ten Tonne Skeleton
I can clearly listen to the music while my headphones lie on the desk and as I put them on again Royal Blood‘s debut album starts playing again for the fifth or sixth time. I’ve been waiting for the first release from the Brighton band since I saw Arctic Monkeys‘ drummer Matt Helders wearing their T-shirt while being on top of the world on Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage. Royal Blood comprising of Mike Kerr on electric bass and vocals and Ben Thatcher on drums have sold out their UK tour this fall within a few minutes and they were nominated for the Mercury Prize.
They might be just two, but they create this incredible thick sound without even using a proper guitar, since Mike‘s bass is used as a guitar modified from the strings to the pedals. Inevitably as a rock duo they are compared to White Stripes, something not utterly wrong. This ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton‘ would remind me ‘I Cut Like A Buffalo‘ even without the look-alike lyrics “Cut loose like an animal / Fired out like a cannon ball“. But there’s more in them than Jack White‘s ex band. They name Queens Of The Stone Age‘s singer Josh Homme along with Led Zeppelin as their greatest influences and one could confirm those by simply listening to the album for a few minutes.
A fan of the first era of Muse (up till ‘Absolution‘) would most likely appreciate even more the bass sound while Ben‘s drumming is up to its place and kicks off the album with a promising, confident riff on ‘Out Of The Black‘, their first single released back in November 2013. It lasts a bit more than half an hour and they hardly have any pauses while each song follows the next nor do they drop the speed but for a few seconds. ‘Figure It Out‘ ends in a frantic half minute burst and songs like ‘Loose Change‘ or ‘Little Monster‘ can easily stand in the same level with songs from other more experienced and popular bands, say Black Keys.
‘Royal Blood‘ is a very good first album that justifies all the hype created around their name the previous months. They’re young and they’re playing together since they were teenagers down in Brighton, but for sure they can improve a lot. With such a big and successful first step it seems that the second album would be quite demanding, but it’s a long way till then and there’s no reason to put this one back in the shelf, away from CD players or playlists.