Royal Blood’s ‘How Did We Get So Dark’ - A Delightfully Confused Blend of Angst, Pop, and a Stellar

>> Royal Blood, a rock duo out of Brighton, UK, recently released their second full-length album, ‘How Did We Get So Dark.’ As a whole, it is far less raw and edgy as their self-titled, though it’s still a powerful testament to their influences ( as a group. These bodacious Brits have somehow managed to increase the fullness of their sound without adding any members, but unfortunately, their lyrical content and its delivery seems to be struggling to play nice with the beautifully synched up bottom end in a few tracks.

The Good:

‘How Did We Get So Dark’ doesn’t possess a single track whose overall composition is not vivaciously full; The dance-beat-esque drums pair beautifully with the octave-pedal bass lines. Plus, listeners can’t help but be reminded of the brilliance of a simple, distorted riff while spending time with the album. To experience this firsthand, for example, one might wish to crank their car stereo and low EQ during the chorus of ‘She’s Creeping.’ It will amp up even the sourest of pusses. The album’s instrumentals alone are nothing short of a friendly homage to true rock and roll. Heavy pedal use, well-attacked riffs, and creative song structure have done our ears good in the past, and those are each cliff notes of the album.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, instrumentals by themselves are not what makes a great sound. There seems to be a collection of common themes in this record, and it’s containing repetitive choruses, lack of lyrical depth and the occasional wonky transition. An example of the latter is after the second chorus in ‘Lights Out,’ where the drums take over with a simple hip-hop beat to transition into a bridge. It was overplayed, and lacking what could have been a simple, albeit powerful floor-tom fill into the bridge. This sort of approach left me with listener blue-balls, but the album is not riddled with this feeling by any means. As far as my inherent beef with the lyrical content of the album goes, it’s not hard to admit that the composition and production of the brilliant vocal harmonies in each track really complete the pieces in a notable way. I can’t say enough about the fact that this duo is doing a splendid job at tricking us into thinking they’re a five piece.

The Rating:

All in all, Royal Blood’s second album is packed with great sounds and styles. It’s clear the two had great tastes and held on to an appreciation for the bands they looked up to during the writing process for ‘How Did We Get So Dark.’ And while each song is ultimately an angsty romance song sung over some serious shreddage, they’re doing a fantastic job at preserving and defining their own sound. A perfect 3.5 / 5. <<