By Mason Meyers
Royal Blood had managed to gain some bass line fatigue in its fanbase with 2017 sophomore album How Did We Get So Dark?. But with their newest effort, Typhoons, the Brighton boys are back. With a more complex and synth-led sound, the album is sure to revitalize the energy of fans and attract some newcomers along the way.
Starting the album with the huge single “Trouble’s Coming,” Royal Blood makes its stylistic switcheroo apparent to listeners instantly. Plucky synthesizers and backing vocals fill the track and perfectly complement frontman Mike Kerr’s falsetto bridge vocal lines. The track perfectly encapsulates the overall tone of the album and gives a small taste of what’s coming on the following tunes.
As the tracks progress, Royal Blood proves the duo is more than just a one-trick pony, with “Oblivion” and “Typhoons” showing that it’s matured and progressed from its youthful sound into a more sonically diverse vision.
“Who Needs Friends” and “Million and One” are crafted impeccably to fill stadiums across the world, to have fans in a moshpit and screaming along to every lyric. Kerr’s bass lines here are particularly bombastic and gritty, providing that classic Royal Blood sound, while contrasting the more progressive songs like “Limbo.”
Kerr’s and drummer Ben Thatcher’s earlier band, Flavour Country (a group crafted in their teenage years), has a clear impact throughout the brief runtime of Typhoons. Synthesizers fill most tracks with a sense of nostalgia toward late 1980s dance tracks that have struggled to be replicated outside of the dance genre in recent years. However, it’s in these tracks that Royal Blood is at its weakest, with long electronic breakdowns and piano ballads, like the one found on album closer “All We Have Now,” providing the dullest moments on the record.
Fans of Royal Blood may be disappointed with the lighter tracks that take a softer direction, such as “You Got It,” tarnishing the band’s “rock and roll savior” image that Kerr and Thatcher have found themselves brandishing in the past decade.
This image is, however, revitalized with “Boilermaker,” a track that’s become a Royal Blood fan favorite since the duo debuted at England’s Reading Festival in 2019.
The influence of Queens of the Stone Age production on “Boilermaker” is clear enough to be heard from a mile away, with the opening riff being almost identical to the California rockers’ “The Way You Used To Do.” Luckily for the English lads, this track takes everything that worked from the Josh Homme 2017 classic and builds on it in every possible way. The end of the song crescendos into an orgasmic explosion, leaving a syrupy sweet musical taste on your tongue.
The final two tracks, “Mad Visions” and “Hold On,” act as the perfect hype anthems to soundtrack anyone’s “walk like a badass” playlist, with Thatcher’s drum parts driving the songs to an equally marching and danceable beat. The two songs merge completely and are sonically almost indistinguishable, making the end of the album as cosmic and musically pleasing as possible.
Typhoons may baffle fans with the first few listens, but eventually become a favorite. Royal Blood’s new sound tingles with the excitement of a new direction the band appears to be turning toward.