Royal Blood inundate with typhoons of groove

When I first heard the dynamic duo of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher back in the spring of 2014, I was absolutely blown away, though I don’t even know if “blown away” would adequately describe the sheer rush that I experienced when listening to Royal Blood. Not much else beats that feeling, so it stands to reason that the Brighton rockers became a consistent favorite of mine after that. They followed up this fantastic debut with their sophomore LP in 2017, and while a solid rock release in its own right, something about How Did We Get So Dark? just didn’t quite stack up to the potency of its predecessor. Fast forward another four years later, and the band is finally back with their third full-length, Typhoons.

Typhoons takes the signature sound the group has become notorious for in the last decade or so and turns it on its head ever-so-slightly. Bass- and drum-driven groove is still the focus, but this time around the groove happens in the context of a dancier, more electronics-heavy atmosphere. In some ways it’s as if they are taking their cues from Death from Above 1979, especially on the industrial-tinged album highlight “Limbo,” which will have listeners feeling quite literally “stuck in limbo” with the rocker’s eerie undertones.

With siren-like bass riffs from Kerr and lyrics that reference disorder and, at points, even the effects of the infamous pandemic, Royal Blood sounds the alarm in more ways than one on Typhoons. This starts immediately with the declarative opener, fitfully titled “Trouble’s Coming,” and continues on the album’s roaring title track, shows up again on the bridge of the spectacularly-syncopated “Either You Want It,” and even makes one last appearance to end the piano-driven closer “All We Have Is Now.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Royal Blood album without its fair share of rhythm and groove, and Typhoons is certainly no exception. This is honestly true throughout the entire effort, from openers “Trouble’s Coming” and “Oblivion,” to “Who Needs Friends” and “Million and One,” and even penultimate cut “Hold On,” but it perhaps best shines through on the vicious growl of “Boilermaker,” which along with the aforementioned “Limbo,” easily holds fast as a standout moment from the record.

Kerr and Thatcher took the rock world by utter storm some seven years ago with their incredible self-titled debut, and while they have yet to top it thus far, their latest full-length still has a lot to offer. The third LP from the Brighton-based duo marries the group’s signature gritty rock sound with not-so-subtle elements of dance and disco, and does so effortlessly. So while Typhoons may not be Royal Blood at their strongest, it’s probably their most accessible, and it’s definitely their most danceable.

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