A lot of anticipation has been placed on this rock band from Reading, formed in 2014 who have skyrocketed on lists such as the BBC’s “Sound of 2017” and MTV “Brand New 2017”, whilst named as band to listen to by NME, The Independent and BBC Radio 1. With the release of their self-titled album in May 2017, we had to get a look at the band which has entered number 8 on the album chart, the highest place for a rock debut album since Royal Blood in 2014.
Having released singles since 2015 under the label Fiction Records, which have made their way onto the album, hits like “Junk Food Forever”, “Ultraviolet” and “In My Mind” offered a good idea as to what to expect from these lads. Indie rock anthems that could ring through stadiums with heavy guitars, crashing cymbals and catchy lyrics with lots of “oohhh”/”yeaahhh” accompanied with cool, pop guitar riffs.
Muffled second guitar, sweet vocals with lots of cymbals to accommodate the foundation for an indie rock tune that has you singing the main melody.
The album contains some songs that touch on grunge, with hard distortion which remind us a bit of Royal Blood’s sound, but the band has enveloped it with sweet refrains as well as spacing out verses which might have just vocals with drums or an acoustic guitar. Tracks like “Little Something”, “Stay With Me” and “Burn My Eyes” will still get you to head-bang a little, before being shortly reminded that these lads fit into more into the indie category.
Even though I like their sound’s heaviness found across a lot of the songs on the album, tracks like “Raindrops”, “Ultraviolet” and “Something In The Water” remind me of bands like Circa Waves or Catfish & The Bottlemen. It feels as if I’ve heard this before and this album can at times get a little repetitive in terms of its structure as well as melodic sequences. The lyrics sometimes don’t make much sense or contain too much context but work well in terms of the vibes and feels the band brings across to its audience.
It’s clear that these lads are energetic and eager to conquer, with them having toured heavily these past years, that experience will come in handy when it comes to showing up for big gigs – which they’ve already done in numerous festivals. It feels however, knowing the amount of promotion that’s been put out for these guys as well as the build-up to this album, we’re seeing a typical, safe, indie rock record. There isn’t anything out the ordinary and we can see that Royal Blood’s sound has found its way across genres, attracting more and more listeners whilst being wrapped up in a pop blanket, keeping it friendly for all. I enjoyed the album and there are some nice tunes that will conquer this summer’s festivals but I was expecting a little bit more. I came into this not knowing what to expect, having seen many billboards around London as well as a rather good article on NME, yet this record hasn’t really done it for me.
I can’t wait to see how they develop however, wishing them great success knowing they’ve broken an important barrier with this record, but knowing a third of the album are using songs released since 2015, you’d think by then the band might have other material. Nevertheless, these catchy indie rock anthems are exactly what’s needed to diversify a much-anticipated summer of festivals, live concerts and partying.