U.S. Royalty – Midsommar EP
Record Label: Engine Room Recordings
Release Date: August 25 (Digital) / October 6 (Vinyl)
You kind of already know U.S. Royalty's brothers John and Paul Thornley. Their indie rock concoctions recall a slew of “more famous” artists like later (i.e. terrible) The Killers, Art Brut and Scissors For Lefty. They are Vampire Weekend if VW creamed over northwest Arkansas instead of Africa.
How Is It?
Four songs plus a remix by that hoodlum in Passion Pit (Bo Flex) and I’m already bored. “Every Summer” is the album’s only high point. Brother John calls us to attention with the strained lines, “Every summer we go forth / Cutting timber from the north / And we stay almost every day.” Everything from the slightly fuzzy guitar melodies to the utterly rough cymbal treatment exudes a carefree theme that’s perfectly relatable. U.S. Royalty have other brief moments, and this release is one hell of a stepping stone. “Where Are You Now” has an enticing lyrical hook from John, but the boring drumming and over-grunged guitar licks completely drown him out. “Keep It Cool” is drummer Luke Adams’ chance to prove his inherent rhythmic capabilities; if only the guitars weren’t so elementary.
Creating a complete song must be tough! U.S. Royalty have the necessary skill sets (the piano-led outro to “Keep It Cool” nearly saves the song’s overly simplified composition), and maybe an overhead view of their sound will more successfully pinpoint both their successes and failures (like noticing John’s unbelievable wail on “Rats”). They’ll make it, just not right now.
Recommended If You Like: new The Killers, Scissors For Lefty, Dr. BS, Art Brut + America, front wheel drive
I've seen these guys twice, both opening for Nightmare of You, and their live show is actually really good. I dug their sound a lot. I picked up this EP and the self-titled one the last time I saw them, but their live energy and charisma don't seem to translate well onto the recordings. Without the performance aspect, there isn't much about the songs that kept me coming back for more. I spun the EPs a few times each, and that was it. I agree that this band has the potential to eventually put out a very solid album, though.
I still don't understand how you hate Day & Age so much. I'm not asking for a snarky explanation though. Or one at all for that matter. I'll check out these guys though since I still like the new Killers stuff.