The follow up to the Brighton duo’s immensely popular debut album dropped this weekend and it was massive. Imagine their first album but with a bigger, more rounded sound. It feels like they’ve built on their original sound to make stadium size anthems. Their champions, like Jimmy Page, said they could ‘take rock into a new realm’ and that their debut album ‘took the [rock] genre up a few notches’ and the new album has certainly lived up to their words.
When talking about subject matter and whether the album is a break-up album he said: “It’s been three years, you know? So I’ve had relationships throughout that period. It’s a subject matter I love writing about. It comes quite naturally to me. I definitely don’t believe in writing about one person in particular or one experience because it kind of ruins it.”
Eponymous track ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ is a soulful track in comparison to the heavier ones to come. The bassline feels like it has more groove to it than we’re used to from Mike Kerr. The longing chorus is sure to impress on the arena tour Royal Blood have lined up throughout Autumn.
‘Lights Out’ is a strong start, it’s enough like earlier tracks ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Little Monster’ to satiate old fans whilst it’s also new enough to prove their international success is still justified. It begins with the fuzzy bass we’ve all come to associate with Royal Blood but then opens out into a more mature song. The lyrics feel more thought out, with more meaning rather than just fitting the gaps.
‘She’s Creeping’ is a personal favourite, it’s where the band channel their inner Led Zeppelin over their inner Queens of the Stone Age for once and it’s just the slinky, sultry number that ‘Better Strangers’ tried to be on their debut. It feels like the song had the potential to be a single, it’s a shame it didn’t become one.
‘Where Are You Now?’ takes a faster turn than others throughout the opening but slowly descends into a bigger beast, the bassline getting given big licks and the beat thudding through. The thundering chorus is sure to be a big winner as their venue sizes grow in the next twelve months.
‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ is the visceral sound that you’ll recognise as Royal Blood’ early days.
Second single ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ is the visceral sound that you’ll recognise as Royal Blood’ early days. The seething bass and biting vocals make the track rough around the edges but it’s just what grating songs like this need. Live this will be comparable to ‘Out of the Black’ where the duo really let loose.
‘Hole In Your Heart’ is a new side to Royal Blood but they sound entirely comfortable in it, perhaps glimpsing into what future endeavors could sound like. The intro doesn’t depend on Kerr throwing down a massive riff to open out the chorus, it just builds on it’s own and it works.
Album closer ‘Sleep’ packs a high intensity punch to finish off How Did We Get So Dark?. It’s one of those almost walking pace songs that feels slick, and you feel cool as you listen to it. That sums up Royal Blood quite nicely, you feel cool just for listening to them, get a little bit of swagger in your step when they come on shuffle. How Did We Get So Dark? builds on Royal Blood’s success and proves to their doubters that they’re not in fact a one trick pony. Give them a listen here.