British rock duo Royal Blood have only been around for a short time but have already became a favourite of Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders.
Vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have expanded upon their debut single Out of the Black with an EP.
The title track’s stuttering drums, grunting guitars and howling vocals are an audacious arrival onto the music scene for the duo. Kerr’s voice is a carnal, virile twist on the intense, piercing high notes of Matt Bellamy from Muse. The random, staccato beat of the drums in between choruses and verses, as well as the sped-up outro, are nicely unsettling to listeners. They show that the duo will not stick to the traditional four-to-the-floor rock song structure.
The EP then launches headfirst into second single Little Monster (which is clearly not a reference to one of Lady Gaga’s fanbase). It’s a dirty, slinky offering (‘love on my fingers, lust on my tongue…come on and get some’), anchored by economic yet full-bodied riffs. The final chorus has some marvellously murky, melodic ‘oh-oh-oh’ harmonies and ad-libs that allow the track to reach the climaxes that few bands like Queens of the Stone Age reach.
The same type of comparison can be applied to Come On Over, which is worth more than its status as the b-side of Out of the Black. An unrelenting bass groove makes this a devilish, moshpit-worthy metal headbanger.
On the closing stomper Hole, Kerr’s yelps penetrate the din of smoky riffs. The lyrics about being ‘stuck in a hole’ however can apply to the song itself. Hole does not have quite as much momentum as the earlier tracks, as it fails to climb out of its own hole of darkness.
Royal Blood have a produced a stirring effort whose sound cannot be limited to one geographical region. The duo does not sound quintessentially British, meaning that its just-completed but to-be-announced debut album should appeal to a wider rock audience.