ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Blood – Typhoons
Photo Credit: Mads Perch
It’s finally time: Royal Blood are releasing a new album, and it’s a doozy. With quite a few years passed since their 2014 self-titled debut and its 2017 follow-up, How Did We Get So Dark?, it was high time this British duo blessed us with some more of their bombastic bass-filled bops. Let’s see if the wait for Typhoons has been worthwhile.
If someone didn’t know the band, they could ask “How can a band with just a drummer/vocalist and a drummer keep releasing fresh new music”, and for the most part they could be forgiven for asking something like that, since two-piece bands aren’t that common. But there’s something special about Royal Blood – be it Mike Kerr’s relatively higher-pitched vocals, or the plethora of effects he slathers his bass riffs with, it can’t be denied that this duo’s got charm. Now take that charm, stuff it into a cannon and launch it headfirst into a box of the best ‘80s and disco themed grooves, and that’s pretty much how Typhoons was made – or so we think, at least.
From the one-two-three punch of lead single Trouble’s Coming, the amazingly bouncy and fun Oblivion (one of our favourites, by the way), and the identically head-bob inducing title-track, you can already tell this album sets out to rock your socks off. Later songs such as Boilermaker (a track that was first played during their 2019 tour), Mad Visions and its immediate follow-up Hold On also echo this statement, helping to close out the record on a high note. There’s a simplicity to Kerr’s bass riffs that, coupled with the sheer amount of effects that modulate them *and* the synths that blend seamlessly through the tracks, just makes the songs jump out at you so much more than they usually would.
For the aforementioned absolute bangers, some slower songs help to even out the pace, such as Who Needs Friends and Either You Want It. Despite their more laid-back tempo, though, they’re still very good tracks, especially the former, with its great usage of female backing vocals to offset Kerr’s during the chorus and some of the verses. The latter track also showcases some of Ben Thatcher’s drum fills, that perfectly capture the ‘80s sense in these songs, especially one past the halfway point of Million and One that echoes Phil Collins’ drumming on his classic In the Air Tonight. Limbo’s a bit of a slower one, too, but it’s a really great one too, with some eclectic synths shining throughout, as well as somewhat of a modulated bass solo/outro, so there are literally no faults to find here.
The inclusion of All We Have is Now, a piano-driven ballad, as the record’s closing track could be considered a bit of a strange move, especially when one takes into factor how Boilermaker’s 2019 live counterpart, King, is nowhere to be seen. It was a much punchier song by far, and despite not being one that these ears would prefer (at least, judging by the available live recordings), it would’ve been a much more cohesive and fitting choice, despite the fact the closer is still a good track.
So, circling back to where we came from: was the wait for Typhoons worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Royal Blood have taken their craft and perfected (almost) every single possible aspect, managing to put out a record that’s punchy yet groovy at the same time, which is sure to become the favourite for a lot of people. Now, can 2022 come sooner? We need to catch these lads on tour ASAP!
Standout Tracks: Trouble’s Coming, Oblivion, Typhoons, Boilermaker, Who Needs Friends
For Fans Of: Muse, Nothing But Thieves, Highly Suspect, Queens of the Stone Age
Written by: Florin Petrut