The Royalty - Lovers

12 songs
39:54 minutes
***** ****


Victory Records used to be famous for their mean hardcore bands, but with Texan band The Royalty, the labels has definitely surprised me. I can’t remember having ever come across such a mellow band from their roster. The Royalty were founded in 2005 but released their first official longplayer only in 2009. Now they are back with its successor Lovers, a truly great record that will make it to my favourite list of this year.

Broadly speaking, The Royalty can be labelled an indie rock band. However their Sixties influence also plays a major role. Their rock components are complemented by a very upfront soul side. This is obvious right from the start with the opener Bartender, where cool organ sounds and tight backing vocals make for a certain Motown flair. Centre of attention is vocalist Nicole Boudreau, whose voice can be likened to those of Petula Clark, Amy Winehouse and Adele. Fortunately the band’s songwriting is a lot crunchier than that of the aforementioned artists. The following How I Like ‘Em is substantially quieter, but once again the powerful vocals and the strong soul elements make this track a winner. After a rather retro beginning, the album get more contemporary, and songs like I Want You and Bottle Breaker prove how sweet pop music can sound. The music is simply happy-go-lucky, and the band easily manages to find the right balance between heaviness and melody. You will find yourself tapping along with your feet right from the start, and it takes some control not to sing along. The last three tracks are considerably quieter than the middle part of the album, which ends gracefully with a piano ballad.

The Royalty are one of the few bands that have managed to sound commercial without any of the corny side effects of the genre. The sizzling atmosphere makes you want to listen to Lovers again and again. No matter if you like the powerful voice of Ms Boudreau, the sophisticated songwriting or the relaxed mood, Lovers has all it takes to become really big.

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