Saturday, May 15, 2021

Make way for Royal Blood: Typhoons is here

It’s not easy to stand out as a rock band these days, but Royal Blood have carved out their place as one of the U.K.’s most exciting bands with a consistently high standard of production. The duo creates a sound that fuses all the best parts of alt-rock from the past 30 years and emerges slick and stylish whilst still tenaciously gritty. 

Part of this sound is due to singer/bassist Michael Kerr’s secret ingredient; pedals that transform the often-underrated bass guitar into the full-bodied sound we hear in their tracks. This ability to extract such polar dynamics from just two instruments and vocals is the kind of production value that is what music is all about these days. 

Typhoons is Royal Blood’s third studio album, mostly produced on their own, with a hand from Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and Paul Epworth. It flashes by with a frenetic energy that very well explains the title.

 The album tempts you in with a powerful chorus number ‘Trouble’s Coming’; it’s a huge track that is the perfect example of their ability to make a heavy sound accessible to pop and alternative fans alike. This effort echoes throughout the entire album; ‘Oblivion’ and title track,‘Typhoons’, providing funky grooves with that quintessentially grungy guitar quality. The album raises the tension as it progresses, with the contagious gale-force energy kept at a high level for almost the entirety of the album. 


One might say that Typhoons shows Royal Blood embrace a more commercial sound, but that doesn’t sacrifice their musical integrity. The album also seems to have a touch of theatrics, perhaps following in the footsteps of the likes of Muse, which is more than ok by me!  

As a band, they had experienced some tumultuous times, with Michael Kerr’s struggle with substance abuse. After 2 years of sobriety, this album uses his recovery as something of an inspiration – a testament to the power of overcoming something that can be as reckless and destructive as a storm.


‘Boilermaker’ is the break-out track of the album, and – as the name suggests – the boiling point. The riffs tear through a dreamy pre-chorus "I'm all mixed up" before descending into a chorus that twists with the punchy drums of Ben Thatcher. It is at this point of the album that I would say we reach the eye of the storm. There is an element of facing up to an emotional turmoil; going into ‘Mad Visions’ with lyrics such as Bring myself out 'cause I can't be tamed /Out in the wild, broken off the chain”


Overall this album is not only cohesive and highly listenable; it literally flies by from start to finish. Royal Blood is clearly a band that values quality over quantity, with their stripped-down but highly effective approach, and with every song being a radio-friendly 3-minute average – jam-packed with vivacity and flair. Whether you like electronic, indie, alternative rock, or the heavier stuff, there’s something in it for everyone.


One thing that was a welcome surprise would be the reflective piano track at the end; a brooding number, with Radiohead-esque feeling to it, softening the blow of an intensely fast-paced and manic half an hour, but ending abruptly and leaving you wanting more. 

The storm is over, and from destruction is born a hopeful albeit melancholy resolve. A genius end to an awesome album that is already outselling the other top runners for this week’s Official U.K. Album Chart – honestly, I’m not surprised. 

Get your coats, Typhoons is a release you don’t want to miss.


Helena Pliotis


Image: Mads Perch


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;