I absolutely adored the Brighton duo’s debut back in 2014 – and I still consider it one of the most important rock albums of the decade. It was a fresh and unique take on classic hard rock – inspired partially by Jack White’s minimalistic approach, but bringing something new to the table. It also proved that guitars aren’t really necessary to play rock n’ roll – all it takes it is a bass guitar run by some cleverly put together effects. That album was short, energetic, fresh and also catchy as hell.
So, Royal Blood proved to be innovative musicians and skilled songwriters. On their sophomore record they take the safe route and give us a slightly more groovy set of yet another ten songs. Of course it doesn’t mean the band is afraid to try new things – first album was quite short, so the follow-up should sound just as refreshing, right? Yeah, it should. But sadly it doesn’t. Personally I think the songwriting is to blame – even the singles (Lights Out, I Only Lie When I Love You), arguably the catchiest songs here are no match for the effortless coolness of most of the tracks from the debut. Sure, Hook Line & Sinker is a banger, but it’s probably the only song that sticks with you after the first listen.
Despite all its flaws: playing it safe, slightly (but just slightly) more polished sound and a decrease in songwriting quality this is still a very solid album. The fans should be satisfied, as they finally have more than 30 minutes of the band’s material to listen to, rock purists will be glad that a young band sounds like that and casual listeners get something that (still) is quite fresh. The point is, Royal Blood should really consider reinventing themselves on album No.3, and prove that they aren’t a one-trick pony.