Mikey Royal and Benny Blood made some serious waves with their self titled debut album in 2014. That freak arsed monochrome burka’d woman looking out at you clutching her book had so many riffs inside. Out Of The Black, Little Monster, Come On Over, Figure It Out. The album was a hit. The band found themselves a post White Stripes sweet spot that was groovy like Jack N’ Meg but metallic like Death From Above 1979. They had the ear of the indie crowd and the Download Metalheads. One thing that was always apparent though was that Royal Blood were for dancing to. The songs from that debut album were in TV shows, movies, video games and commercials so fungible were their token riffs (nope, still not got a clue what that means, I’ll just keep trying until I get it right).
While its true Mike’s vocals owed a little to QOTSA polymath Josh Homme and the grooviness got groovier, the big hits from album number two Lights Out (that answers how we got so dark, fnarrr), Hook, Line & Sinker and I Only Lie When I love You still sounded like the same band who made the debut album. Several of the singles did massive business in the rock charts in the UK and the US. It was clear this band were more than a one trick pony. The future laid out there for album number three. What would be their next move? Who would be their next muse?
2017 and there was a second album. Still packaged in something approaching photocopier horror comics How Did We Get So Dark? answered the question many fans were asking after the debut album. “It’s cool and all but how varied can the sound of a rock guitarist and drummer duo get when they’re banging out stone chiseled riffs and hard beats?” We could be asking the same questions of Slaves, The Black Keys, The Kills and Jucifer to name but a few. As if following the weird naked Guru Dude through the desert on peyote for spiritual guidance, the answer as all rock bands at an impasse will find is often ‘What Would The Ting Tings Do?’ Rocks most influential duo since Sonny and Cher went synthpop for their sensational second phase. It was such a genre defining cross over moment it buried the band completely under unsold CD copies of their own CD’s that they were never heard of again. Wait a minute… This isn’t right. This isn’t what happened at all.
Well, turns out it might have been Muse. Album number three has gifted us three singles in 2021. The record is called Typhoons and the tracks so far lead in with Troubles Coming, then the title track and now Boilermaker. The sound is slicker if not entirely poppier. There has been more than one occasion where I have heard Troubles Coming on at work on on the TV and thought I was hearing something new by Muse. I’m not suggesting they have Matt Bellamy tied up in their basement and are tapping him for tunes like sap from a tree. That’s a horrible image and I resent you bringing it up. It’s just that there’s a luscious deeper feel to their sound this time that puts me in mind of the rich slick mix that band put out on much of Typhoons. That said, errrm, not so much on Boilermaker. The relentless beat and riff combo add a viral quality to it that has the same DNA strain as Figure It Out or Lights Out. It’s a catchy number. The riffing around the two minute mark is a joyous cacophony. Just two guys in this band. Making all this noise.
When they were previewing material from this newie they proffered a track called King that really kicked arse. It seems to have fallen between the cracks as it didn’t make the album. There’s Riffs in the drawer still for the next phase. For now though, heavy weather is forecast for the foreseeable. I’ve been with this band since I first saw them live in 2014. I like the way things are going for them. Funny how they’ve never been on SteveForTheDeaf before.
There’s a great little behind the scenes video up online of how the Boilermaker video got made. In case you ever thought making videos was glamorous. This will dispel that myth.