Good old-fashioned, dirty rock ‘n’ roll is far from dead. Royal Blood has proved themselves to be the newest avatars of that particular vein of gritty music that comes from England. Singer/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher’s symbiosis is really what drives their sound. There are plenty of guitar-drum duos in rock (The Black Keys, The White Stripes), and while Royal Blood’s sound is reminiscent of these groups, they are something wholly their own. Thatcher is totally in tune with Kerr’s bass lines, halting when he halts and picking right back up in perfect synchronicity.
Ideally, a song should be like a story. This is what we as humans, lovers of tales, are used to. We like a beginning, middle, and end with a definite sense of having gone somewhere and returned. There should be semblance of a journey, rising and falling action and changes in pace or tone. Royal Blood delivers on this front. One track, “Ten Tonne Skeleton,” off of their eponymous album begins with a bass riff far down on the neck and a driving snare. Halfway through the song, however, both the bass and snare drop out for a few bars. After this interlude of an ethereal refrain from Kerr, the drums pick back up in a deconstructed eighth note pattern. This kind of variety gives the song a more interesting texture, and we as listeners feel like the storytellers have transported us.
Royal Blood is on the way up. They came straight from playing Coachella in the baking fields of the south to stop in Sacramento and melt the crowd’s faces. They will continue from here to the frozen north, playing gigs in Oregon, Washington, and Canada before coming back down to the contiguous states. As if a tour crossing the continent was not enough, they will also be touring with Foo Fighters this summer, opening for them in the UK. In this way Royal Blood has matched the structure of their songs. They have come from their native land, had their journey, and will soon return more experienced and capable than before.
Learn more about Royal Blood out on their website.
Words by Evan Nyarady.