'Club Majesty' - Royal Republic / Turned Up Louder
Swedish rockers Royal Republic have been making a name for themselves over the last decade for approaching rock and roll with a smile and sense of fun, which has earnt them a diverse range of plaudits and fans. Fusing rock and pop in a way that is more reminiscent of the previous decade could be considered a risky approach to take in this day and age of increasing polarisation and sub-genres within the world of alternative music, but Royal Republic have nevertheless carved themselves out a niche in the current scene and are unapologetic in their approach. Following the success of 2016’s ‘Weekend Man’ and a period of extensive touring, the quartet are back with ‘Club Majesty’; their fourth studio album (or fifth, if you include 2014’s acoustic compilation ‘Royal Republic and The Nosebreakers’). The very name is as clear a sign as any of the fact that the band have absolutely no intention to change their winning formula and start altering their sound with the new output; which is certainly good news for fans, and has led to a great deal of excitement leading up to this release.
Royal Republic waste no time whatsoever getting things into gear with the opening song and first single ‘Fireman & Dancer’. After a short intro which includes a scream from lead singer Adam Grahn, which sounds as though it belongs in an 80’s hair metal band rather than a pop-infused garage rock band, the song becomes a great example of what the band are all about. The short, sharp guitar riffs are there, as are the vocal harmonies and catchy choruses that are so familiar to fans of the band. But on top of this, there is also a funkier element at play, most noticeably with the inclusion of a saxophone solo. The pop influences have always been present in Royal Republic’s music, but Club Majesty takes this one step further, the best example of which is the following track ‘Can’t Fight The Disco’. This is the highlight of the album, as it is unapologetically camp, tremendous fun and should come with a warning on the album that you will not be able to get it out of your head for a week (which is a compliment, not a criticism, incidentally).
The pace of the album is relentless, with another unbelievably catchy single ‘Boomerang’ following. The clean guitar riffs and upbeat rhythm section makes for a terrific ska-punk-type vibe that is clearly rock and roll, but makes you want to dance as if it were a pop song. There will undoubtedly be a lot of rock purists who will scoff at the idea of a rock band adopting this kind of style, but those who do are missing out on the most feel-good album of the year so far. This is encapsulated in the lyrics as well, with songs like ‘Under Cover’ and ‘Like A Lover’ (the former featuring a great guitar solo from Hannes Irengård, and the latter being a much slower and sleazier song than the rest of the album) being especially unsubtle examples of the disco club vibe that Royal Republic have perfected with this album. Everywhere you look in this album, there are memorable riffs, irresistible grooves and delightfully enjoyable beats that blur every line imaginable between rock and pop. ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ is another brass-filled highlight, while ‘Fortune Favours’ is an earworm which is packed full of so many hilarious lyrics that honestly could go so wrong in less capable hands, but in the context of ‘Club Majesty’ is just one more three-minute segment of terrific entertainment.
The one and only criticism that can be made against this album is that the frantic pace that the album needs to keep the enjoyment levels up means that it all feels as though it is over a bit too soon. Too quickly do we reach the album’s penultimate song and final single ‘Anna-Leigh’, which is a glorious 80’s new wave track that somehow manages to fuse itself with some meaty guitar riffs for good measure. The album ends with a return to a more out-and-out rock song ‘Bulldog’, which comprises more excellent guitar work and brings the album to a frantic finish. Royal Republic have always been an accumulation of a range of different musical influences, but with ‘Club Majesty’ it is as if they have managed to turn all those different influences up slightly in a way that sounds completely contradictory on paper, yet is incredibly effective and tremendous fun. It is a phenomenal breath of fresh air and is guaranteed to leave you feeling a lot happier than you were when you started listening to it. Royal Republic deserve immense credit for not just sticking to their guns with ‘Club Majesty’, but for being unequivocally themselves and delivering an album of pure joy that you will want to keep listening to for weeks.
'Club Majesty' is out now via Nuclear Blast.
Check out the video for the band's latest single, 'Anna-Leigh', below:
Royal Republic are set to play a whole host of festivals over this summer, including an appearance at Download Festival, before embarking on a UK tour this autumn- dates and tickets can be found on the band's website.