Anyone remember The Rapture? They were supposed to be the band that revolutionised rock by pairing it with danceable grooves and sublimely zany melodies.
The fact that we had to ask illustrates that it went wrong somewhere. Anyone buying their second/breakthrough album found it to contain two or three or the previously mentioned type with the rest of the running time being padded out by dull low-tempo synthesizer plods.
Royal Bangs is where the dream becomes the reality. Intelligently woven music encompassing a diverse range of styles. If you're in a comparison frame of mind, we'll throw out 'a more serious Electric Six', Passion Pit, Dirty Projectors, Pavement and Friendly Fires. They're in the same area code certainly, but we doubt anyone is up their street per se.
A unique approach to music is always a rare treat: less a breath of fresh air than an oxygen tank in Atlantis. It takes even more guts to attempt this so insidiously. The straight rock 'n' roll is wheeled out first with the first two tracks keeping it simple with a spirited use of unrelentingly pounding drum rhythms and angular Franz Ferdinand-esque guitar slashes. Track three has cowbell, automatically making the members of the band geniuses. That the framework around "My Car is Haunted" is built from a robust melody and surprising twists makes the whole package irresistible.
After this, the album does certainly kick it down a notch, but not to the extremes of The Rapture's Echoes. The ingeniously monikered "Tiny Prince of Keytar" lets vocalist Ryan Schaefer try his hand at infusing emotional stakes into his art. Success is assured.
The mood is swiftly sent skyward with "1993", a number which parallels the chaotic approach of Johnny Foreigner and Los Campesinos, instead of a plethora of instruments at its heart though, there stands a small number of bizarre and unique fingerprints. Royal Bangs seem to have found the sweet spot between all the aforementioned bands. While Electric Six and Dirty Projectors would represent the two poles of the pretentiousness spectrum, RB slot neatly in the middle, delivering an album full of ideas and bursting with fun.
We challenge anyone to dislike "Gorilla King", a song obviously based upon Donkey Kong and thus utilising its chip-tune approach to music, filling out the bass frequencies with moody bashes of the chest as performed by the tom drums. When these guys have an idea, they have a real gift for making it corporeal and inventive.
Maybe it's six years behind Echoes, but good things come to those who w...