After three years, Royal Blood release their third album, Typhoons, which offers rocky bass riffs and more danceable tunes. Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher had said they wanted to return to their roots, back when they had made music that Daft Punk and Philippe Zdar influenced.
The album starts off well, opening with ‘Trouble’, giving a groovy disco feel, which is something we haven’t really heard before from the duo. It has a get-up and dance element to it and plays on the lighter rock/pop music.
‘Oblivion’ has a heavier Royal Blood feel that is more familiar than the opening tracks. The chorus is catchy and has a similar dance feel to the first song, ‘Trouble’ and starts to give you a good idea of how this album will unfold.
The album’s lead single, ‘Typhoons’, is the strongest song off the album with a grungy sound from Kerr’s bass and him singing, “Cause all these chemicals dancing through my veins, they don’t kill the cause, they just numb the pain.” Typhoons track is about Kerr facing up to dark spells in his mind and finding a bright and hopeful route out. The bass run after the chorus really gives the song an extra level of excitement before you hit into the chorus, where you can imagine huge crowds singing Typhoons and dancing. Towards the end of this track, the bass keeps building, raising the excitement of the song. You can understand why this track was selected for release ahead of the album.
From here on in, the album gets a little lost. ‘Who Needs Friends, Million & One, Either You Want It all’ feel like they are lagging, lacking in power and although some of the melodies are catchy, it’s not strong enough to make any of them stand out.
‘Boilermaker’ was produced by Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, but again I’m not convinced it makes that much difference. The song again lacks oomph, and the effect on Kerr’s bass feels a little flat and annoying after a while, which is quite disappointing.
‘Mad Visions’ and ‘Hold On’ run into each other, making it feel like one giant song. It brings us back to the feel of the beginning of the album with the dance disco vibe being added back in. The bass riffs in each song are good and really powerful, which is what we need and want from Royal Blood.
As the album comes to an end with ‘All We Have Is Now’, we have Kerr singing softly over a piano. The song is nice and really lets us hear a softer side to his vocals with an easy melody for the ears. I think this last track will be a love or hate opinion for many people, but I actually quite liked it.
There is only so much that a band can do when your only instruments are a bass guitar and drum kit, but Royal Blood’s first two albums really were great pieces of work, and it’s a shame to say that this album doesn’t match up to them. There are one or two songs people would probably return to or maybe even add to a playlist, but most people will return to their first album, which offers up everything that Royal Blood really is.