The UK’s latest mega rock export, Royal Blood have taken the rock genre by the scruff of the neck and reinvented it.
The two-piece, formed of Mike Kerr (vocalist and bassist) and Ben Thatcher (drums), only started in early 2013, heralding from Brighton. They were first talked about when Matt Helders, drummer for the Arctic Monkeys, wore a Royal Blood branded shirt at their headline gig at Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage later that year, which led to them supporting the ‘Monkeys’ at their, now infamous, Finsbury Park concerts – catapulting the duo well into the public eye. As an export of the BBC Introducing scheme, just like Ellie Goulding, Adele and Mumford & Sons, this meant they had the perfect platform to show off their incredible talents – with music icon Zane Lowe particularly promoting the band on his old BBC Radio 1 show.
Starting with the massive ‘Out of the Black’, the record sets an unbelievably high standard early on with, as is standard over all their songs, a huge riff from bassist Kerr and loud, exaggerated drums from Thatcher. Their two most successful songs ‘Come On Over’ and ‘Figure It Out’ quickly follow, giving one of the best openings to a debut album in a long while. My personal favourite, ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’, is exceptional from the first beat, with the opening of the song summing up the album and the band perfectly – the originality and talent is shown excessively. The best thing about this album is the pace of each song, although this means that, at just 33 minutes long, you do get a slight sense of disappointment when the final track ends. However if you ever needed a piece of music that personifies the saying ‘quality not quantity’ this is it.
Rarely do live acts sound anywhere near their studio performances, especially these days with certain performers owing to auto-tuning and miming during their sets, but Royal Blood are one of the few that actually thrive in front of an audience. Their presence and confidence is a sight to behold – owning the stage with aplomb. Thatcher especially takes his instrument to breaking point, enticing the crowd furthermore.
The UK’s fastest selling debut rock album for years, Royal Blood is a record that’s heading a new wave of rock talent – with even Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) being impressed enough with the duo to say that they’re giving “hope for heavy rock bands that have catchy songs” and then to invite them to support the Foos on their tour here and over in the US.
Royal Blood have shown that if you’ve got talent and drive you can go from not even in a band to supporting the likes of the Foo Fighters at the 90,000 capacity Wembley Stadium in just over two years.
Royal Blood was released on 22 August, 2014 via Warner Bros Records.