Royal Blood’s highly anticipated third album Typhoons was released on the 30th April and well … wow. It’s been a long 4 years since the duo’s sophomore record How Did We Get So Dark and soared to the top of the UK’s album charts, cementing Royal Blood’s status among the best artists that Britain has to offer. The Brighton band are living proof that Rock and Roll is simply not dead and anyone who tells you otherwise is a bare-faced liar. The album brilliantly built on the sound that the band created with their self-titled debut and even peaked at 25 in the US Billboard 200 in 2017.
So, fast-forward to 2020. The world is an immeasurably different place. COVID-19 has placed an unbelievable amount of pressure and stress on societies and cultures around the world. Music has been a welcome distraction for people across the globe. So, when Royal Blood released Trouble’s Coming in September, it was a very welcome surprise for fans across the UK. Suitably Trouble’s Coming opens the album with a bang. It sets the tone for the whole album is the perfect track to kick off this new era for the band. It is unmistakably Royal Blood, however, it’s clear from the offset that an evolution has taken place on the South coast, the sound has changed just like the world it is being released into. The boys have added a shimmer to their jet-black palette, which is much needed when seeing that the lyrics are very self-reflective and personal for lead singer Mike Kerr.
Following hot on the heels of Trouble’s Coming come a plethora of disco-meets-desert-rock tunes that are bound to get you bopping along, I know I couldn’t stop myself. The first of the unreleased tracks, Oblivion is possibly my favourite track on the whole album. It’s heavy but its upbeat, with Kerr offering hazey delivery on deeply personal lyrics like ‘can’t live like this forever, running out of lifelines’. It’s a dichotomy between light and dark musically, it opens with light keys and guitars and backing vocals throughout, contrasted with Kerr’s dark delivery and the quintessentially punchy bass and drums. Typhoons was the second single from the album and continues the funkiness of the first two tracks while continuing the dark lyrical theme, here exploring Kerr’s experience with the excesses of life on the road in a rock band.
Who Needs Friends slows things down a bit as Kerr rails against the ‘cheap skates’ and ‘leeches’ he’s met on the road, on top of a steady, grungy backing track. Million and One immediately reminds me of the opening to The Who’s classic Baba O’Riley and shows just how much Royal Blood are willing to wear their influences on their sleeves. However, even when they do that, they put their own stamp on it definitively. This track is much more hopeful than its predecessors as Kerr sings about a lifesaver, someone who he could not do without and it is really touching. Then we reach the epic Limbo, you can read a more in depth look at this beauty of a track on the Darkus website, for now I’ll say it was my favourite of the singles and it remains one of my favourite Royal Blood tracks in general.
Either You Want It is a bit of a departure from Royal Blood’s sound, which is welcome at this point of the album. It feels the most purely pop track on the album and precedes probably the most rock song on the LP, Boilermaker. This was the final single released before the album, however it has been a fan favourite for much longer, having debuted on the band’s most recent tour, and it’s easy to see why. The track is produced by Josh Homme and it possesses that Queens of the Stone Age swagger and an infectious danceable energy injected from the duo’s performances, the more I listen to this, the closer it gets to being my favourite. It is the epitome of bringing a glitterball to a mosh pit.
The danceability continues on into Mad Visions with its funky riff and driving drum-beat as Kerr sings ‘It feels so good to be letting go. Hold On kicks in immediately after and is about, well, holding on really. Kerr croons ‘life is hard when you’re losing, nothing easy is worth doing’ as he urges himself or the listener to keep going no matter what, encouraging them not to give up or let go because ‘you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’. The biggest departure for Royal Blood’s sound on this album has to be the LP’s closing track All We Have Is Now, a surprisingly beautiful piano ballad. It’s a true breath of fresh air and it feels like Royal Blood truly finding themselves on this album, leaving the listener with an absolute certainty that this duo knows what they’re doing and where they’re going.
Typhoons is such a departure for Royal Blood that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it could fall on its face. However, not only does it not do that, but it also actually transcends the band’s previous two albums in terms of a complete body of work. It cements the band’s status as one of the best in the UK and it shows that they are not just a one trick pony. The album shows just what can be achieved when a band as talented as this are willing and confident to try new things. Royal Blood have finally come out of the black as they promised back in 2014, injected a bit of light and colour, and if this is what the end product is, then I’m all for it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; Thank the lord for Royal Blood.
Article By Mattthew Codd