Words by Luke Thomson
Brighton based band Royal Blood will be releasing their 3rd album Typhoons on the 30th of April, 4 years since their sophomore record How Did We Get So Dark? So far, the group have released four singles from the upcoming album: Typhoons, “Trouble’s Coming”, “Limbo” and “Boilermaker”. The group have been working on the album ever since last March when the pandemic hit the UK.
All four tracks roughly contain the hard rock style that the band has become known for over the years; although the first two tracks add more elements of dance, and at times, ambient music too. My personal favourite of the three, “Limbo”, retains much of the same style that the band used in their debut album, Royal Blood; the one that received the highest audience and critic praise. The track comes in at almost 5 minutes, making it their longest song to date and holds several surprising key changes too. The last two minutes of the track takes listeners back to an 80s style synth classic, a new sound for the band.
The music video to “Limbo” pays homage to legendary duo Daft Punk, who retired back in February 2021. The Brighton couple can be seen donning helmets very akin to the French- based electronic masters, and motorbikes that take influence from TRON, to which Daft Punk created the soundtrack to. These futuristic visuals match the style of Typhoon’s cover art; a bubble-gum-coloured set of LED lights very much like something from TRON or Blade Runner. It marks a distinct difference from the covers of the group’s previous two albums, both of which went for a more sombre black and white, introspective look.
By far the best received of the singles so far has been “Trouble’s Coming”, amassing around 20 million streams on Spotify. The track starts off with a catchy guitar riff that keeps constant throughout the whole song, and combines itself nicely with screeching vocals around the chorus. The song is very reminiscent of the Arctic Monkey’s 2013 self-titled record, AM. Indeed, the bands work for the same management company as each other and in AM’s headlining Glastonbury performance in 2013, drummer Matt Helders could be seen donning a Royal Blood tee throughout the performance.
The last single, “Boilermaker”, is very similar to “Trouble’s Coming” with its more pop-rock style that calls influences on earlier works. In my opinion, it is the weakest of the four and showcases the band’s only real major flaw in a lack of vocal styles and ranges from Kerr. Whilst the hard and rough sound is done perfectly, the track suffers from not featuring different vocal tones and general experimentation in harmonising.
Royal Blood consists of just two members in Mike Kerr (lead vocals and bass guitar) and Ben Thatcher (drums). Kerr grew up in West Sussex’s Worthing and Thatcher is from Rustington. Although Kerr is on bass, his use of distorted guitar pedals and amps allow the guitar to sound like both bass and electric. Their sound has been compared to the shoegaze subgenre of rock, made popular in 1990s Britain with such bands as Ride and My Bloody Valentine being pioneers of the dreamy, instrumental style.
The band plan to do some touring this summer too, their closest date being 28 May in Newcastle, and, Covid travel bans permitted, also some July dates in Spain, Belgium and Russia. If this fails, Thatcher says, the band guarantees to do several live performances on Instagram Live, their music very much being designed to play in front of live audiences at festivals.