Tackling a concept album for their third release, Palaye Royale continue to refine their art rock tendencies on ‘The Bastards’.
Still retaining a deep layer of grit underneath the sleek production, ‘The Bastards’ sees Palaye Royale take another step towards the perfect blend of experimentalism and commercialism.
From the get go, ‘The Bastards’ showcases a multitude of layers to the trio, as the electro- industrial stomp of ‘Little Bastards’ simultaneously delivers chunky riffs and sing-along choruses smoothly transitions into the primal rock of ‘Massacre, The New American Dream’.
With the opening one-two punch of the aforementioned tracks, the trio presents their ability to craft choruses that deserve crowd participation as well as a streamlined approach to structure, whilst ‘Anxiety’ highlights Remington Leith‘s vocal delivery.
Gritty and commanding, Leith‘s distinct tone allows the trio to pull off riskier decisions. This is shown on the cabaret inspired ‘Hang On To Yourself’, a song that in lesser hands wouldn’t work, but is saved with Leith‘s performance and Emerson Barrett‘s swinging drum beat.
Whilst ‘Lonely’ and ‘Nervous Breakdown’ both benefit from eclectic choices and allow the band to cherry pick from other genres convincingly, there are still some missteps. With ‘Tonight Is The Night I Die’ missing its landing and ‘Masochist’ pushing way too much of its focus on its chorus, the midway point of ‘The Bastards’ is a little uneven.
Kicking off a stronger final act, ‘Doom (Empty)’ sees Sebastian Danzig bring droning guitars into the mix, whereas ‘Black Sheep’ blends urgent bass lines, snapping drums, and a solid stop-start chorus. With the latter, Palaye Royale show that when their ambition is pulled off, it works extremely well.
Closing the record is a solid trilogy of tracks that display how far the group have come since their 2016 debut full-length, ‘Boom Boom Room (Side A)’. Mid-tempo ballad ‘Stay’ uncovers a level of restraint for a group that usually revelled in bombastic grandeur, and the same can be said for ‘Redeemer’, a track that relies on intimacy more than a wide chorus.
As ‘Lord Of Lies’ concludes the record, it becomes clear that Palaye Royale have made huge strides towards their potential, with a multitude of tracks combining huge hooks with experimental flavours. Whilst the record may be uneven at times, ‘The Bastards’ still pushes the trio and refines their sometimes polarising sound.