- 30 Apr 21
Royal Blood get a transfusion.
With their self-titled 2014 debut and 2017 follow-up How Did We Get So Dark?, English duo Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher have done their bit to conserve that most endangered of species: the successful contemporary rock band.
Of course, staying at the top is often just as hard as getting there. Having made their name with a distinctive blend of scorching blues rock, Royal Blood are now faced with the question once so artfully posed by Jarvis Cocker: “What exactly do you do for an encore?/ Cos this is hardcore.”
The answer to which turns out to be: head for the dancefloor. On the face of it, this might seem the most disastrous move since Stephen Kenny placed Ciaran Clark at the centre of the Irish defence, but it’s a gamble that pays off handsomely.
The likes of ‘Trouble’s Coming’ and ‘Oblivion’ are vintage exercises in disco-punk, while super-producer Paul Epworth’s assured touch should make ‘Who Needs Friends’ a big hit at festivals, those things we used to attend back before Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome became a work of hard-hitting cinéma vérité.
Best of all is the Josh Homme-produced ‘Boilerplate’, an inspired melange of robotic riffs, which easily eclipses Homme’s consistently underwhelming hook-ups with Arctic Monkeys. Once again, Royal Blood confirm they belong among the rock aristocracy.