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Album Review: Royal Blood (Self-Titled)

The rock duo comprising of bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher from Brighton, England are having a breakthrough year with the release of their debut album, self-titled Royal Blood. Imagine if The White Stripes and The Black Keys with the help of a wizard created a little rock and roll offspring? Well in all likelihood that offspring would be hard rock duo Royal Blood. Their self titled album was released on August 25th of this year and instantly debuted at number one on the UK rock charts, selling around 660,000 copies in its first week. This was the first time since 2011 that a rock album has reached number one in the UK and could be a shoo in for rock album of the year.

Ferocious yet concentrated and undeniably hook filled, Royal Bloods first album is a force of nature that sends its listener on a jarring riff filled journey. Mixing grunge with bluesy rock the band has found a formula that projects well on record and in live form. This is a rare combination that has elevated several bands into stardom. Formed only last year Royal Blood is riding a wave that does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. The band has been publicly praised by major music publications and established rock bands alike. UK brethren the Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders wore one of their bands t-shirts during their epic Glastonbury Festival performance in 2013.

The album is a moody burner that begins with their first single “Out Of The Black”, a song that sounds close to a Jack White song albeit much heavier then his recent work. Next up the anthemic and even faster paced “Come On Over”. On just track three, the highlight of their album rears its Queens Of The Stone Age infused head. “Figure It Out” is easily one of the more memorable songs on the album that starts off slowly with a continuous bass riff followed by the inclusion of a basic drumbeat, before an almost hair raising build up that turns into an explosion of sound and Kerr’s almost carefree sounding lyrics. Already a must-play song at events, Royal Blood knows and understands the power of the track and that, it is their ticket to international fame. A catchy rock album loaded with muscle Royal Blood is a welcome surprise to the rock scene and will entertain new listeners and rock purists alike.

Final Grade: B

Review by Tyler Bossio

Album Review: This Is All Yours by Alt-J

This Is All Yours by Alt-J

This Is All Yours by Alt-J

The alternative rock band all the way from Leeds, England are back with their second full length album and boy is it a doozy. Alt-J has finally released their most recent thirteen track effort titled, This Is All Yours. If you thought their first album, An Awesome Wave, was adventurous then you are going to love This Is All Yours. The album is an up and down roller coaster ride of scintillating and at times hauntingly beautiful tracks that are easily listenable and undeniably addicting.

Coming seemingly from out of thin air the band took the world by storm after winning the 2012 Mercury Prize. After going on a year-long world tour that garnered the band a loyal following the three musicians sat down to record their second album. The end result is a possible nominee for best album of the year. Whatever the band has been doing to turn out two insanely haphazard yet magnificent records, should be kept on lockdown, because the year of the Alt-J is about to start all over again once the album is officially released on September 22nd.

Starting off with the appropriately named “Intro” that begins and ends with the distorted/repeated choruses of “la la la”, before breaking down into a mean sounding bass heavy affair. This neatly segue’s into the more slow paced and relaxing piano driven track “Arrival in Nara”. This leads into “Nara” that shows off lead singer Joe Newman’s unique vocals behind a relaxing backbeat of drums, bells and guitar. Moody and provocative sounding single “Every Other Freckle” is next before the band does a complete left turn with “Left Hand Free”. The song is fast paced and upbeat compared to the majority of their album. It highlights the more rocking side of the UK band that has primarily relied on its slow and unexpectedly bass heavy songs to deliver a punch.

“Left Hand Free” is a short respite before the fantastic yet much slower paced tracks “Choice Kingdom” and “Hunger Of The Pine”. This opens the door for one of the more impressive tracks on the album. “Warm Foothills” is a delicate mid-tempo duet between Newman and Lianne La Havas. While minimal the song is gentle and warm. It becomes a perfect introduction to track ten, “The Gospel Of John Hurt”, which slightly picks up the pace before transitioning into “Pusher”. A very stop and go song, “Pusher” is one of the more overlooked tracks on the album.

The second to last song is an epic shout-out to their previous album, titled “Bloodflood pt.II”. With a slow buildup that ends in an explosion of sound Alt-J has saved some of their best songs for last. The ambient final track, “Leaving Nara” is a fitting album closer that is classic Alt-J. Overall the album is a huge step in the right direction for the band and will only cement their already growing legacy as indie rock stars. In what can only be described as an organized mess, Alt-J has delivered one of the best albums of the year and the future can only get brighter for the UK band.

Final Grade: A

Review by Tyler Bossio

 

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