After a wee break to re-charge their creative juices following the monster success of their debut full-length eponymous offering, Brighton based rock duo Royal Blood have now stormed back onto the scene with their sophomore album, ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’.
Royal Blood are a live band first and foremost. Even though there’s only two of them onstage, they capture the energy of a seven-piece ska band, a feat that is damn near impossible to pull off, and, while in a live setting they’re the crème de la crème, on record they’re disappointingly average.
‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ doesn’t really offer anything new to the rock world, and gives everything that we’ve heard before from the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse b-sides. Sure, the riffs are bold and catchy, and the songs are competent and everything sounds, well, fine, but given the hype that surrounds this eclectic band, you can’t help but expect more.
Highlights of the album include the snake-like groove coursing through tracks like ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ and the album opener/titular number. Then there’s the genuinely brilliant Deftones-esque riff of ‘Hook, Line And Sinker’, which simply must be played at an ear pummelling volume.
As for the rest of the album, well, it simply falls into filler or dirge. ‘She’s Creeping’ is the musical equivalent of being winged at by a pissy toddler thanks to its whining guitars and plodding rhythm, and ‘Don’t Tell’ should only be listened to as a cure for insomnia.
The real talking point here is the lead single, ‘Lights Out’. Thanks to its one catchy yet ridiculously simple riff, radio stations across the nation have sampled this palm-muted, paint-by-numbers guitar work as a box ticking exercise, and obnoxiously present it as evidence that “Hey, we play rock and metal! Bleeeeeh!” *sticks tongue out while doing devil horns*. There’s nothing wrong with simple-yet-effective route to writing a rock song, but given just how simple this riff is and just how effective it has been is truly mind-boggling… and irritating.
‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ isn’t the worst album to come out this year, but nor is it the best. The only reason that you should give it a listen is to familiarise yourself with the band’s work and then go see them live (something that you absolutely must do).
Written by Andy Roberts (@sassensquatch)