royal blood

Album Review

How Did We Get So Dark? is the second release from the British duo. We review the record track by track.

Royal Blood

Having waited over two years to hear new material from British duo Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher a.k.a Royal Blood their LP How Did We Get So Dark has been eagerly anticipated and proves good things come to those who wait.

After a mild introduction through the opening title track, the single from the LP Lights Out is a blistering track that bolts out of the starting gates in true Royal Blood fashion. The heavy, fuzzy guitar hooks jab the old one-two before delivering a sucker punch as the chorus belts out “my eyes are still burning red”. I Only Lie When I Love You is a desert rock anthem bouncing left and right between ear drums, kept in check by the rhythmic use of cow bell.

She’s Creeping gives a nod to classic 70’s glam rock with wah wah pedals cranked to 11 and some upper fretboard work providing ultra-high guitar solos and soprano parts to boot. Firmly announcing its arrival with marching band drum beats, Look Like You Know brings in some dirty bass lines before a gatling gun burst of beats perforating the remainder of the track.

Where Are You Now is a bipolar track kicking off with short, punching beats and riffs before making an about-turn. The chorus drops deeply into a power chord frenzy, amping up the intensity of the song before swiftly reverting back to the underlying gallop of drum beats.

The reverberating bass strings on Don’t Tell set the scene in creating a slinky and grimy track. Oozing swagger this song provides a brief respite before sonic assault of Hook, Line & Sinker. Devastating in its immediate delivery, the prowess of Royal Blood is on full display. Flexing their collective muscle, the track drops in and out alternating between Kerr’s guitar peaks and Thatcher’s drumming troughs.

Mixing things up Hole In Your Heart introduces some organs into the fray coupled with a smattering of beats and catchy guitar riffs. Bringing in the use of organs adds a little more texture that helps differentiate it from some of the preceding tracks. A much needed element when working from a limited palette. Rounding off the album Sleep is an anxious track channelling paranoia and jealously into lamenting love song.

What is truly impressive of not just two piece acts in general but Royal Blood in particular, is the full band sound they create in the absence of core instruments. Through their own lack of pressure to release material in a timely manner at the expense of quality, they pair have consolidated their exposure and rapid rise to fame by stock taking what they have learnt on the road touring and translated that into a considered and feisty album.

Royal Blood will also appear on the sold-out Splendour In The Grass festival 2017