Turning the clock forwards seventeen years, we come to find the second album from hard rock duo Royal Blood in the form of How Did We Get So Dark?
It was only last year when I discovered this album through a good friend of mine and Royal Blood put a different spin on what the confines of the hard rock genre are and overall darkened its atmosphere and feeling. This LP truly portrays this haunting change, with the title track hitting you like a violent kick in the teeth. The drumwork from Ben Thatcher is top-notch and almost metal-like in feeling and fits with the song perfectly.
I Only Lie When I Love You is pretty simplistic in structure, talking about animosity within a relationship, but it entwines a sinister bassline with a seething vocal from lead singer Mike Kerr. It's almost rap-like in structure on some of the verses but soon returns to a more conventional structure, but overall, the song is absolutely fantastic. Hook, Line & Sinker is a particular highlight, talking about deception in a relationship and the overriding bass tones from Kerr, that, through the usage of the various effects pedals, sounds like a lead guitar, adds to its attitude and brashness.
Where Are You Now? sounds a little more like classical rock in my eyes, with Kerr's lyrical delivery and Thatcher's drumming that is, as always, sublime. It features an absolutely brilliant riff that would be sure to get the crowd going at any festival. Indeed, they opened with it at 2017's Glastonbury and from the concert footage, it's evident that the crowd were attracted to the punchy sound.
Continuing on with the different sounds, Cheap Affections sounds reminiscent of pop-punk in the late nineties and early noughties, like that of genre staples My Chemical Romance or the previously-reviewed Green Day. It's a little more upbeat in delivery than the rest of the album and gives us a different side to Royal Blood, showing versatility within the confines of the rock genre, taking on a little less heaviness, that is a welcome change of variety.
How Did We Get So Dark? will go down as one of the best sophomore albums in rock history and has certainly set Royal Blood a little further down the path to musical greatness. I would certainly recommend it to everyone reading this and indeed, if you want something a little heavier than usual to listen to, look no further than this masterpiece.
If you want to pick up a copy, I’ll leave an Amazon link here: https://amzn.to/2BGDqJM
Or, if you’d prefer, here’s a Spotify link:
More musical magnificence to come next week!
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