ROYAL WE - A New Sunrise

Royal We - A New Sunrise

6 songs
18:07 minutes
***** ****


Dylan Kennedy used to be the bass player in the German independent band Scumbucket. Although I have to confess that I noticed them only marginally back in the late Nineties, one of Germany's most popular alternative bands emerged from them: Blackmail. And they again are helping out in many different ways on Dylan Kennedy's first solo EP released under the name The Royal We, which closes the circle.

The opener and single Tomorrow's Today has Blackmail's Kurt Ebelhäuser on co-vocals, guitars and mellotron while his brother Carlos is adding sublime banjo lines. In fact what we have here is one of the most perfect lo-fi and yet symphonic pop gems I have ever encountered. The chorus is infused with an undeniable melancholy, and the sparse but varied instrumentation makes this an adequate piece of music in an era where lush pop music has a revival, thanks to Brian Wilson finally releasing his Smile album. The second track No One Ever Knows is a true solo song, recorded by Kennedy all by himself, showing that he is just as accomplished as a solo musician. Of course the opener is the best piece of the EP, but even the remaining songs are better than you should expect from a guy who "only" played bass in a meanwhile mostly forgotten band. Autobar and I Will Be More, with sad accordion parts, sound like world weary shanties. False Pretences is an unpretentious rocker with sharp sounding German vocals, reminding me somehow of Ostzonensuppenwürfelmachenkrebs but also Pavement who must be an influence. Then the EP stops too early with the lullaby Endlessly, and the good news that an entire album is in the making.

Although a lot of Blackmail members helped on this CD (half the songs are solo, the other half band songs), the overall atmosphere is very mellow. If you feel inclined towards lo-fu chamber pop, you should check out A New Sunrise as soon as possible. The single track is even offered as a free download, so what are you waiting for?

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