Oh how we love the hard working bands around here, and it’d be tough to find a harder working band than Royal Bliss. They’re absolute road warriors and have honed their craft over many a smoke-filled bar room to get where they are.
Make no mistake, we’re not the only ones that love the band though. Look no further than their Kickstarter campaign that allowed this very album to happen. Their fans crowd-sourced together and exceeded the bands goal of $25,000. In fact, the fans pledged a total of $37,392. That’s no small chunk of change. It has allowed the band to continue their journey. The bills for recording, packaging, merchandise, promotions and much more were picked up by their fans. That’s a testament to how well Royal Bliss connects with people.
Now comes the question; Was the fans’ investment really worth it? Well the backers were already rewarded with nice incentives, but the only way to answer that question is to jump into this album review.
If you were kicking off an album, how would you do so? With a rocker? A ballad? Something quirky? If you answered with rocker, we’re a lot alike. In fact, we’re a lot like Royal Bliss as well. Tearing into the track Welcome, the band lets you know up front and early on that shit just got real. Setting an aggressive tone being delivered at a frantic pace, Royal Bliss is back and as awesome as ever.
Welcome heads into the lead single, Cry Sister. If you haven’t heard it yet, I’ll include the video below. We’ll wait on you to get back. Go on, watch it. You can thank me later…….
Okay, you back now? Good. Pretty badass, huh? Starting off with a menacing bassline from Dwayne Crawford, Cry Sister builds the momentum to a chorus that explodes into a big ol’ stadium-sized anthem. Try to to forget that chorus. I bet you can’t!
Next up is Rock You All Night Long. If there’s one thing you’ll notice about Royal Bliss, it’s that they say what they mean and mean what they say. The slow roasting, minimalistic groove will get your head bobbing, while Neal Middleton pounds the verses into your earholes. The drop in the music that leads into the drum break played by Jake Smith around 2:45 is reminiscent of (perhaps even a hat tip to) classic Queen. In fact, I think the band could do a great live mash-up with We Will Rock You before ending with their song. Just a thought.
Dreamer is the first real departure from what we’ve come to expect from Royal Bliss. Sure, the melodies are there and they’re terrific, but there’s an added element. What sounds like a synthesizer, is in the mix. In what can only be described as “so weird, it works,” the band delivers a beautiful, mid-tempo look at following your dreams, albeit with a synthesizer. Go figure! I think my preference would’ve been a cello low in the mix, but hey, whatever. It works!
It Haunts Me picks up the momentum a bit and delivers one of my favorite solos on the record. Wait, wait…did I just say solo? Yes, I did. Taylor Richards isn’t afraid to play a solo. While this one isn’t particularly blazing, it’s a perfect compliment to the song and really helps set the mood. A great story. A great groove. A great solo. Simply put, it’s a great song.
Drink My Stupid Away isn’t what you’d think it is. The song title conjures up a vision of a raucous rocker about mischievous times. Instead, we’re treated to a two minute piano-laden momentum build that emerges into perhaps the most beautiful two minutes on the album. This is one that you simply have to hear to appreciate. Really, there are no words to fittingly describe it. This might just be Royal Bliss’ masterpiece. It showcases exactly how great their songwriting abilities really are.
Alive to See is what a southerner, like myself, would call a barn burner. The most aggressive guitar riff on the album, by far, kicks like a mule. THIS is Royal Bliss.
Following that up is a difficult task. The song that drew the shortest straw is Impossible. Perhaps that’s where the idea came from. Ha! This one is difficult to pin down. If I had to do so, I’d describe it like this: If Royal Bliss wrote a song for a U2 album, this would be it. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s a rocker and I absolutely love it, BUT, the ambient guitars and the delivery of certain vocal parts, as well as the drumming, would be well served on a U2 album. That’s a huge compliment in my
Turn Me On adds a little piano funkiness before absolutely kicking you squarely in the mouth. Hold on, it hurts sooooo good. This is full throttle rock that will definitely move the most stubborn crowd. Have I mentioned solos yet? Oh, I have! Well this one’s awesome too. Just wanted to put that out there.
Ending the album is Home. In perhaps one of the most personal songs you will ever experience, Neal Middleton lets you peer into his life and the reasons for being who he is. The harmonies are fantastic. The vibe is chill. The fun is undeniable and I’m actually sad that this is the last song. I truly want more and I bet I’m not the only person that feels that way.
To answer the question we started with; Was the fans’ investment really worth it? First, let me say that anything you believe in is worth your time and efforts. Having said that, this album not only delivers on the fans’ investment, it exceeds all projected expectations by the stockholders.
Do me a favor…instead of buying some over-produced, generic pop star’s album that you heard on
MTV that crap channel that doesn’t play music, support a band like Royal Bliss. These guys write their own songs, play their own instruments, and love their fans. As I like to say; Support the artist or lose the art.
Unsung Melody Score: 9 out of 10.
Preview or purchase Chasing the Sun below: