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Album Review: Royal Blood – Typhoons

Release Date: April 30th, 2021

When Royal Blood released their self-titled debut album in 2014, they quickly became known for their sound: gritty, heavy blues-inspired stoner rock with an emphasis on Mike Kerr’s unreal bass riffs. But rather than play it safe, the Brighton duo took a risk and tapped into their dormant groovy side for their third album, Typhoons. The album has the same spark and excitement that made their debut so infectious. Not only is it a new, fresh sound for the band, it also sees Kerr getting more personal and honest than ever.

Listening to Typhoons is like rediscovering Royal Blood. They strike a perfect balance between their hard rock sound and their new dance-inspired direction. “Trouble’s Coming” is just a hint of the band’s new sound with its fusion of rock and upbeat funk. They take it further on “Limbo,” which blends Kerr’s dirty riffs with big disco grooves making it the most infectious song on the album. Daft Punk’s influence can be heard on “Million and One,” with its catchy synth riffs and electronic inspired sound.

Fan favorite “Boilermaker” is a highlight. After making its live debut in 2019, the song finally gets a proper release, and it lives up to the hype. The song fucking rocks. It has an undeniable swagger with a sexy groove and an undercurrent of danger. But it’s very clear Josh Homme had his hands in the song. The riff sounds ripped from Queens of the Stone Age. It could easily be a cut from Villains. Still, it’s a badass song that gets you ready for a wild night out.

Royal Blood’s hard rock sound hasn’t been abandoned, rather they’ve expanded it. The new direction is fresh and exciting. And the change feels organic, something that was in them all along. They just finally found a balance between both worlds. Yet underneath the glistening disco keys and groovy riffs is a darker story of Kerr dealing with his demons. Kerr is more personal and rawer than he’s been on past records. The heavy “Who Needs Friends” looks at the harsh reality of fame, while “Oblivion” is a heady warning about reckless living as Kerr comes to terms with his own mortality. “Hold On” sees Kerr reminding himself to keep going strong even during moments when you’re ready to give up. And the title track is about anxiety and how getting lost in your own head can take you down a dark path. Despite the heavy topics, the album is still a fun invitation to put troubles aside for a bit and dance.

So how do you end an upbeat, dance-inspired album? With a sentimental piano ballad. Closing track “All We Have Is Now” is a surprising entry. Slow songs are nothing new for the band, but never have they been this raw and honest. It’s a reminder to enjoy the time we have left. We may not know when things will end or what’s lurking around the corner. The only thing that matters is embarking on this uncertain journey we call life with someone special. It’s a stark song with just Kerr and the keys. Then it abruptly ends. No second verse. No repeated hook. The party is over. It’s the album’s most ambitious moment that shows Royal Blood can no longer be confined to just one sound.

Typhoons is Royal Blood reborn. It’s their strongest release since their debut. The album is a banger from start to finish. Similar to their self-titled record, it’s nearly flawless. Unlike their sophomore effort, the songs are distinct and have their own vibe. Rather than sticking with their well-known sound, their dark-disco sound makes the record exciting, vibrant, and a damn good time. It’s a stunning return for the duo that’s fearless and fun. Their new lease on life and fresh sound show there’s more to Royal Blood than we thought.

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Royal Blood - Typhoons
  • Our Rating
User Review
3.83 (18 votes)

Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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