When you are a bass and drums two-piece, it is obviously not a simple task to develop and provide something different on a project the second time of asking.
Royal Blood came out in 2014 with their own brand of trucker rock, to a sea of praise that sent the Brighton duo flying up the billboard and festival stage lists.
To replicate that same energy for the new release, How Did We Get So Dark? Royal Blood have in fact not changed.
This is welcome news to those of us who loved the first project, so you should be jumping for joy at the return of one of Britain’s only living odes to rock n roll in mainstream music, right?
Well… No… Not really.
Artists with the proven quality of Royal Blood should change and grow from project to project, besides the addition of a bass whammy pedal and the inclusion of the odd ooh, ahh and YEAH.
The production of this album is just as punchy as live as the first.
The instrumentation is if anything more complete and less reliant upon the octave fuzz emanating from singer and guitarist, Mike Kerr‘s new Manson Custom.
Prime example of that is the stand out track of this very short project, Lights Out.
The lead single of How Did We Get So Dark?, is the development from the first album that we all deserved.
It’s a genuine party rock song, filled with enough moments to bask in the glory of to keep you satisfied the whole first half of this album.
If this album is lesser remembered than the one prior and those after it, Lights Out will be the soundtrack of your nostalgia trip through the early work of hopefully in the future, the great Royal Blood.
The lifesaver of the second portion of this project in my opinion is Hook, Line & Sinker.
A descending chromatic phrase that shocks this album back into living is exactly what this album needed.
Although I did say at the top of this review I was sad not to see or to hear anything new from Royal Blood, the straight dumping root notes on the chorus with Jack White style hammer-on and pull-off guitar licks mixed beneath the falsetto vocal melody, is very pleasing to experience again.
Although Hole in Your Heart possesses something I never thought I would appreciate in a Royal Blood track, a keyboard… It is another example of Royal Blood’s development as an act.
More care has been taken to forefront the melody of the track, same with the following and final song, Sleep.
There are many things to love about this new project, especially the final third of it.
Royal Blood have satisfied their core fanbase and will most likely gain some new ones from the rock and pop communities.
Like their first project, there is a very live energy to How Did We Get So Dark? which after being achieved twice now by Royal Blood I suppose can be described as their signature sound.
This album is not going to be Royal Blood’s break-out stadium filling release, and I assure you it will not be the pair’s last.
However, it is certainly a disappointment to have to wait three-years for new music from them and only receive 10 songs, of which I believe four can be called strong.
They (being critics or someone with some influence I guess) always talk about the difficult second album, How Did We Get So Dark? has been Royal Blood’s difficult second album.
Based on history though, that normally means the best album from an artist is the third.
We’ll wait until then.
Listen to new album, Royal Blood – How Did We Get So Dark? below: