When I think of Royal Blood, I think of the revitalization of rock music. Before listening to this record I am about to review, my only prior knowledge of Royal Blood was the hit “Figure It Out” blowing up in 2014.
I am primarily a listener of metal, death, emo, and anything alternative that is under the sun. I listen to my local alternative station every now and then as a way to gauge what rock music is trending to the majority of listeners. My skewed perception can sit here and say that Bring Me the Horizon and Machine Gun Kelly are breaking through the barriers of unconventional rock, and while that is true to the slightest of extents, it pales in comparison to what gets played through radio waves. Artists such as Twenty One Pilots, Kaleo, and Red Hot Chili Peppers continue to receive massive airplay while more experimental artists that incorporate different genres may get a solid fifteen minutes of fame before retreating to their niche following. Now, in 2021, with the seemingly endless Travis Barker collaborations and the incorporation of guitars and drums into Top 40 entries, artists are more experimental than ever, summoning past influences while creating new amalgamations of music that have not been previously covered. Typhoons, Royal Blood’s third studio album, rises to the current forefront of rock experimentation with a sonically diverse palette and a charging aggression that is sure to flare a new generation of music.
“Trouble’s Coming” kicks off the record with a groovy, dance-inspired beat and catchy lyrics that really take a step back from the two-piece’s previous two hard rock and grunge-inspired albums. Featuring an upbeat chorus, the energy and tone of the record is set here. “Oblivion” follows the opening track with a distorted bass and an overall atmosphere that rivals the signature “fuzzy” instrumentation of The Black Keys. The title track “Typhoons” takes influence from The White Stripes, offering a more garage rock feel with the shouted chorus and megaphone-effect verses. The main riff the song is built around caught me in particular; as a band with bass but no rhythm guitar, Kerr’s playing remains a highlight of the record.
“Who Needs Friends” feels a bit simplistic, but keeps a blues rock tinge within the confines of the synth-laden track, and the chorus contains ones of the catchiest melodies I have heard in a while; this song was meant to be sung along to in stadiums. “Million and One” continues the stadium-arena vibe going with an infectious riff in the intro and a bridge that is perfectly written to mesh with the anthemic chorus. This is the first song that really utilizes the backing synth to its advantage in my opinion; the constant melodic droning keeps the pace of the song and adds a soundscape over the rest of the instrumentation. “Limbo”, the longest track on the record, can be best compared to Queens of the Stone Age, really taking hold of that fuzzy bass through the verses only to explode into a chorus that may be a bit repetitive but is an inevitable earworm.
“Either You Got It” starts off super bouncy, almost sounding like Royal Blood gone 80’s (although there are several instances of that feeling throughout Typhoons). I am surprised this song was not released as a single; I personally felt all the components were there to make it a hit. “Boilermaker” was the song that garnered a lot of traction prior to the release of Typhoons, and it delivered the hype it was given by the Internet communities. This is probably the closest sound to the first two Royal Blood records that is on the record, and that may be why it is so positively received, but Kerr’s voice fits so well over the elastic riff. “Mad Visions” takes more influence from the 80s electronica production techniques that have made their mark over the runtime, and Ben Thatcher’s drumming feels more pronounced here than anywhere else on the record. Kerr also provides the best chorus on the record here; it has had me singing along while I finished up this review.
“Hold On” is another track on the record that uses the synths perfectly; heightened spikes in the orchestral elements elevate the track to another arena rock entry. The closing song, “All We Have Is Now”, is vastly different from the rest of the record. It contains nothing but piano as Kerr sings a softer ballad to end Typhoons by winding down the energy.
This record, as an introduction to the band for me, works wonders. The current landscape of rock music contains this dancefloor, glossy coated tinge to it, and with bands like Royal Blood leading the way, I see the resurgence of more experimentation while keeping that signature rock sound.
I give Typhoons by Royal Blood an 8/10.
I recommend the songs “Oblivion”, “Either You Got It”, and “Mad Visions”.