Band: U.S. Royalty
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Free mp3: “Monte Carlo”
Like Josh, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent away from the music and the archiving and writing about it and the rest of it. It’s been a solid respite, really, yet I can’t get away with “celebrating” New Year’s anymore without eliciting a stare or two. Deservedly so, New Year’s was about three weeks ago! So let’s get cracking on some album reviewin’, yeah?
My first music review of the new year belongs to U.S. Royalty, an unsigned, D.C.-based band that’s gearing up for the release of its debut LP, Mirrors. I have to say, the single, “Equestrian,” extracted emotions deep within me that went untapped by music for a healthy chunk of time. It’s supposed message, say, struck me as beautiful. I was actually giddy to express my thoughts tangibly by sharing with you my assertions. And now, because we’re a nation of convenience, I’ll link ya to my “Equestrian” analysis via one of those nifty diddies where the link is embedded within the text. Sweet.
Anyway, on the whole I wasn’t as keen on Mirrors as I was with “Equestrian,” yet I think there’s a fair amount on tap here that you’ll probably dig.
Foremost, “Monte Carlo” is just wonderful. The guitar riffs attracted me first. They’re casually sprinkled in key places, like at the very top of the track before the vocals swim in. The song’s got a Southern-ness about it, I guess, that shouldn’t be confused with country or twang. The electric guitar, the rolling drums, it’s all very nice.
The group breaks out harmonica for “The Mirror” and “Give Up the Ghost.” They do tambourine on them, too, and on a slew of other tunes. Paired with a tangy guitar, I think it’s a sound U.S. Royalty does rather well. You know, kind of like the uncle everyone likes because he’s got a catchy Southern drawl. It’s a sound merely hinted at here in Mirrors, and maybe should be expounded upon on a later release.
In some sections, Mirrors is more pop than expected, and for me, it took away from the sound and edge they all but sold me on.
U.S. Royalty has drawn comparisons to Local Natives — from, among others, Chicago Tunes‘ Josh — and I think it valid. I’m probably not as familiar with the L.A.-based band as the next guy, but they’ve certainly got some commonalities, like excessive harmonized vocals. If you like those guys, then you’ll probably like these guys, and vice versa.
- U.S. Royalty, based in Washington, D.C., is: John Thornley, Paul Thornley, Jacob Michael and Luke Adams.
- The Rock and Roll Hotel in D.C. will host the boys’ record release show on Saturday. Tickets are $10/12.