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The Art Of Insincerity
Despite an album full of radio-friendly love songs, there is much more to Royseven's The Art Of Insincerity.
Shilpa Ganatra, 10 Nov 2006
This Dublin foursome were hotly tipped back when they were called Jove. Now that they have been signed to Universal in Europe, expectations are even higher – and so far they haven’t let anyone down.
On the contrary, with a single that reached No.6 in the Irish charts, Royseven have clearly struck a genuine chord with Irish rock fans. Listening to the album’s opener ‘Older’, it’s obvious why: the trademarks of a quality pop/rock single are there in abundance. After a deceptively quiet start, the music builds towards a grandiose chorus, accompanied by Paul Walsh’s trademark soaring vocals. This is in the zone where U2 meet Muse embracing Keane, with fireworks and drama aplenty to soothe the savage rock fan’s breast – and Royseven inhabit it with the poise of naturals.
In The Art Of Insincerity, they have delivered an album replete with radio friendly tracks, with love as the favoured topic of the moment. But there is more to the Royseven vision than mere romance. The morose closer ‘Send Me To Hell’, which opens over a simple drum and piano backing, and deploys strings to impressive effect, offers a glimpse into a world in which our protagonist has fallen badly out of love with himself. “If wasters could be named / You’d see mine up and framed,” he confesses, in a fit of self-loathing that’s as comforting as poison. The powerfully anthemic ‘In Your Bedroom’, reminiscent of Muse’s ‘Muscle Museum’, hints at a darker kind of obsession, the reference to Jesus in a song about sex only making it more curious. This is big music, made for the festival circuit.
Throughout, Paul Walsh leads from the front. His voice shoulders the melodic burden to a huge extent – and that he is a fine singer, with a remarkable range, is never in doubt. But an element of sameness of tone and structure creeps up on the songs in places, against which the beautiful restraint of the opening of the Blue Nile-ish ‘I Laughed Alone’ contrasts magnificently. This is a finely wrought epic – but there’s still a suspicion that pushing it, as they characteristically do, on the final instrumental coda is the wrong option, when allowing the more exploratory atmospherics of the opening to linger would have made a better postscript. Next time out, Royseven should include in their calculations the theorem that less sometimes really is more...
That caveat notwithstanding, there is enough on The Art Of Insincerity by way of vaulting ambition to keep everyone on their toes.