REVIEW BY GAVIN WILLIAMS
‘BACK TO THE WATER BELOW’
Royal Bloods fourth studio album, ‘Back to the Water Below’ arrives with anticipation and a hint of controversy. Clocking in at just 32 minutes, this self-produced album is a short yet powerful addition to their discography. With 3.7 million monthly streams on Spotify alone, the band are one of the UK’s most popular rock bands but some music lovers don’t seem to have forgiven them following frontman Mike Kerr’ s recent upset at Radio One’s Big Weekend. However, ‘Back to the Water Below’ proves that Royal Blood is here to make amends and make a statement.
Overall, the album has a reassuring feel to it. By the second play through, it gives a feeling of familiarity. Like a collection of songs you’ve heard plenty of times before. The unmistakable groove of this two-piece has remained at the core of their sound since their 2014 self-titled debut, and it’s on display again here. While maintaining their obvious Queens of the Stone Age influence, Royal Blood introduces more subtle moments tinged with a surprisingly frequent nod to John Lennon’s influence. Particularly in tracks like ‘There Goes My Cool’
The album leads off with new single “Mountains at Midnight”. A tried and tested bass fuzz dancefloor filler. The middle section of the album shines brightest, with tracks like ‘Firing Line’ featuring a menacing four-chord backbone and ‘Tell Me’ boasting an awesome bass drum groove that’s impossible to resist. ‘High Waters brings a more positive vibe to the forefront with its uplifting melodies and catchy hooks.
Despite its many strengths, ‘Back to the Water Below’ never quite reaches top gear, opting for a slower, more mature approach throughout. While this choice showcases their growth as musicians, some listeners might yearn for the adrenaline rush of their earlier work. There’s nothing here that compares to the sheer adrenaline of their breakthrough song, “Out of the Black”.
In summary, Royal Blood’s ‘Back to the Water Below’ is a solid addition to their catalogue, offering a blend of their signature sound with more diverse influences. It’s a more mature, introspective album that may not satisfy those seeking the band’s previous intensity. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable record that showcases their musical evolution and hints at exciting possibilities for the future. Royal Blood has succeeded in delivering a noteworthy album that fans can appreciate.
1/ “Mountains at Midnight”
2/ “Shiner in the Dark”
3/ “Pull Me Through”
4/ “The Firing Line”
5/ “Tell Me When It’s Too Late”
7/ “How Many More Times”
8/ “High Waters”
9/ “There Goes My Cool”
FOLLOW ROYAL BLOOD
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.