Rock | Electro-rock | Alternative
My first experience listening to Royal Blood, was through their single “Little Monster”, in the lead-up to their debut self-titled album in 2015. In my mind, there was no denying that said album had a monumental impact on modern rock, and it earned its place as one of my favourite albums that the 2010's had to offer.
It was so impressive to see such a rich sound coming from a band that consisted of only two people. However, this set up a worry as well; Royal Blood’s musical approach certainly felt like a double edged sword. While the fact that only the two of Royal Blood’s members could create their sound, it seemed like their options were very limited.
This became apparent in their sophomore album, 2017’s How Did We Get So Dark?. Stylistically, this album sounded like it could’ve easily just been tacked on to their debut album, and I wouldn’t have thought twice. In other words, it offered nothing new. And in my mind, this crippled Royal Blood’s reputation to the point where they felt like a bit of a one-trick pony.
And as if Royal blood themselves realised this, the band went through what seemed like a bit of a hiatus. They would hardly cross my mind up until the point where they played a set at 2019’s Reading Festival, where I was reminded just how good they sounded live. Along with this, I was lucky enough to hear what sounded like some new tunes from that live set, but what I didn’t know, was that a select few of these new tunes would be part of their newest musical endeavour.
With the strike of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wouldn’t have blamed Royal Blood for taking just a little more time with their newest project. However, it felt like 2020 was a crucial year for Royal Blood to give us the next chapter of their musical journey, given that the last time they had released any music was way back in 2017.
Thankfully, the later half of 2020 saw Royal Blood offer us the first concrete sign of their comeback, in the form of the single release of “Trouble’s Coming”. I remember my initial reaction to this track being “this is actually really interesting”, and this was mostly thanks to the integration of electronic elements, that Royal Blood had used in an attempt to give this single a more unique edge.
However, it would be the year of 2021 where Royal Blood really got the ball rolling towards their newest album, which they dubbed Typhoons. This album was teased by three other tracks earlier this year, in the form of the title track, the nostalgic dance feel of “Limbo”, and of-course, my clear favourite of all of those teasers, “Boilermaker”.
The release of “Boilermaker” was kind of the moment where everything revolving around Typhoons comes full circle, as it was this track that actually served as one of the most memorable highlights of their 2019 Reading Festival set. That right; I have been eagerly waiting for this track to be released for almost two whole years!
Nevertheless, I was still unsure about how the full album would sound. Were these teaser tracks clearly going to be the best offerings that the album had? Would Royal Blood once again back into the corner of their all-too familiar style? These questions, and my worries, were silenced completely upon listening to Typhoons in full.
It was easy for me to notice that Typhoons sounded remarkably different to Royal Blood’s two previous projects. But it wasn’t until I revisited How Did We Get So Dark?, that I realised just how well the band had managed to find their way out of their rut of familiarity.
It was clear that the more electronic influence behind the teasers was staying put on the full album. And as well as emanating a very nostalgic, kind of mid to late-2000’s rock feel, this album, at a stretch, almost sounded similar to something Scissor Sisters might’ve created.
While there were many factors that wowed me about Typhoon, especially regarding how it strays away stylistically from older albums, this album unfortunately presents another issue; instead of sounding to similar to Royal Blood’s older albums, many of Typhoon’s tracks, sound too similar to each other. With tracks such as “Trouble’s Coming”, the title track, “Million and One”, “Mad Visions”, and “Hold On” being the most glaring examples of this, there’s a certain kind of tempo that a great amount of these tracks stick to. This ultimately blurred the memorability of this album for me as a result.
But all in all, I was still surprised by how much I ended up enjoying Typhoons. It keeps that Royal Blood attitude, but in a more fun manner, that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Not only that, it reflects the whirlwind of emotions brought upon us by lockdown in its engaging narrative.
Featuring some of the catchiest and most unique material to be found in their entire discography, it is definitely fair to say that the Royal Blood hype has been renewed.
Favourite Tracks: Oblivion | Either You Want It | Boilermaker
Least Favourite Track: Million and One
Warner Records UK | Imperial Galactic | Black Mammoth
Enjoyment: 8/10 | Memorability: 7/10 | Atmosphere: 8/10
Uniqueness: 7/10 | Satisfaction: 8/10 | Narrative: 8/10