Royal Blood – Typhoons
In an age when rock is often declared “dead” as a mainstream pop concern, Royal Blood have been intent on bucking the trend, with two number one albums and their 2014 single Figure It Out gaining over 150 million listens on Spotify alone. Unlike some of their peers, they did so with few concessions to the prevailing soulful, more electronic winds, and thus were a refreshing throwback to a time when the likes of The White Stripes and Queens of the Stone Age dominated student pub jukeboxes across Britain. Their latest album, Typhoons showcases a band keen to embrace a more synth-driven sound – but one that keeps their old edge, thanks to Mike Kerr’s striking falsetto and sharp bass lines.
Lead single Trouble’s Coming opens the record in infectious form, building from early sparse Jack White-esque to a more synth-heavy climax possessing admirable depth. Things don’t let up in what follows: the rip-roaring Oblivion and the album’s title track, which drummer Ben Thatcher drives forward with a marching rhythm.
Who Needs Friends is the first hint that Typhoons is heading in a slightly different, more contemplative direction than the garage rock that’s made Royal Blood stars, and Million to One confirms this. The duo have spoken about how their latest effort draws on material they wrote for a pre-fame band, Flavour Country, and it’s this track, with its echoes of Daft Punk, that provides the best marriage of their return to these roots. It’s a song that will fit perfectly into the middle of a live set – more intriguing than rousing openers or closers, but enough of an anthem to keep fans pumped up.
After such a strong opening, the two tracks that follow are something of a disappointment, as Limbo and Either You Want It attempt the same trick but with less aplomb. The Josh Homme-produced Boilermaker, though, provides immediate – and heavy – relief, lifting matters with an instantly likeable, grotty rock club banger.
Mad Visions doesn’t quite hit the same heights, but is worth a listen for its bass line alone. Hold On adds late emphasis to Typhoons’s funk credentials, before All We Have Is Now ends proceedings on a strangely discordant, contemplative note, more reminiscent of Supergrass’s St Petersburg era than anything else on the album.
After a slightly underwhelming second album, Typhoons is a pleasing return to form for Royal Blood – and one that shows they can explore new sonic pastures without losing what drew fans to them in the first place.
Typhoons is released on 30th April 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Royal Blood’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Trouble’s Coming here: