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The Royal We - The Royal We

23-Feb-2006 08:15 pm Contributed by: pete Music Reviews
The Royal We - The Royal We
10 Track CD
© 2005 Rakete
[Speaker] Listen to Space 1999 [Speaker]
Enema Rating:
The Royal We are located in Germany, but rather than being influenced by stereotypical German bands like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, their sounds are more influenced by the music of Grandaddy and Sufjan Stevens, with some similarities to bands coming out of the U.K. In fact, if I hadn't been told they were located in Germany, I would've guessed incorrectly they were from the U.K., so I find some consolation in the fact that Dylan Kennedy (lead vocals, guitar) who formed the band was born and grew up near Reading, England.

Although The Royal We is their debut effort, the music business is not new to Dylan Kennedy. In the nineties, he was a member of the band SCUMBUCKET with whom he released their first two studio albums. After taking a 5 year break from his musical career, he got back in the studio with The Royal We and is now working hard to generate interest in their music, as well as attempting to secure distribution deals in North America.

The CD packaging is a cardboard fold-out case with black and white cover art (see above). Unfortunately, the CD artwork for The Royal We doesn't represent the type of music on the CD well. I'll never fully understand the forces that go into creating cover art that can properly represent music, but I can tell you that their cover doesn't do their music justice. Good art can get people to pick up CD and acts as a sales tool, so I thought this was worth mentioning.

The album opens with Space 1999 which is easily the best and most radio-friendly track on the album, with a catchy melody and easy-to-take pop guitar. Some of their musical influences shine through on this song - I hear the sounds of Granddaddy in the opening sequence and back again in the closing 30 seconds. This song is the hit single of the album. (Although if I was to remix it I would remove the clap-clap sounds that are used in the background, they just sound out of place). It's not the only song of interest though, there are a three other very worthwhile listens that are carefully and wisely spaced evenly throughout the CD.

In between the four strong songs are five other tracks that didn't really trigger anything in my musical pleasure centre, and one song, Pivotal Thing, that was just boring... it started out nice, if a bit repetitive, but then ends with a minute of ambient sounds. Not for me. But don't let that turn you off this CD because in addition to Space 1999, the tracks A Thousand Dollies, Same Old Tragedy, and Clarity are well worth your time. The third track, A Thousand Dollies, is filled with strummed guitar and a plethora of generated sounds to make up the background. Same Old Tragedy is a mellow, pleasing build up of both distorted and clean guitar, soft singing, soothing bass, and keyboards. The last song on the CD, Clarity, is a great two minute finisher with energy, unfortunately followed by a minute of silence and three minutes of bonus track. It was cool when Nirvana did this in 1990, but I've grown really tired of the "hidden" track. Songs with silences always get 1 star in my iTunes so that they don't make it onto my iPod. Too bad for me since on its own Clarity is worth listening to, but I just can't take the silence when listening to my iPod.

Two seriously great tracks, two good tracks, and five reasonable tracks makes for a pretty strong debut effort. In writing this review, I found myself listening to Space 1999 and Same Old Tragedy repeatedly, and now they are in full rotation (so to speak) on my iPod. I hope The Royal We is willing to put Space 1999 up on their MySpace page so that people can really find out what this band is about. In the meantime, download A Thousand Dollies.

26-Feb-06 Update: Since this review was published, not only did The Royal We add Space 1999 to their MySpace page, they also made it availble for download. So go download Space 1999 now - you've got nothing to lose and it really is a great song... I'm totally hooked on it.


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