SINGLE REVIEW: Typhoons by Royal Blood
Are you ready to let Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher blow you away?
Typhoons is the title track from Royal Blood's third album, and is a perfect summary of what's to come from our favourite Brighton babes. Following on from Trouble's Coming - which set the most beautiful groove-rock standard for the rest of the record - Typhoons feeds our insatiable appetite for more, and it does so with ease. And based on what the boys have to say, it seems the song came about in a similar fashion.
"This song came out of nowhere," said Mike (bass/vocals) when speaking to Radio 1. "We thought the record was done before the first lockdown came into place, and this song was written during lockdown. We felt like we had a record that we were really happy with, so we were just playing around and didn't even have our own band in mind for it - it was just very creative and very fresh and free. As a result it just meant we had so much fun with it - I think it's the quickest a song ever came together for us. We got to the end of the song and we were like, how did we do that? It was very quick and very energetic, and it felt very us."
Introduced by Mike's hauntingly atmospheric vocals, Typhoons saunters in with a funky, sensual riff and delectably tight beats courtesy of drummer Ben. The verse will have you strutting around your room, until you're blown away by the bridge - with its disco ball-like glittering production values, you're thrown into a vivacious chorus that'll have you singing along in no time. And then it hits. The signature riff that sends this track soaring into a relentless whirl - a typhoon, if you will - and you can't help but getting swept up.
Despite the exhilaratingly fun-loving nature of the track, the lyrics paint another picture entirely. "The whole record is about this idea of being lost in your own head, and how dark spells can really take over you. When you're experiencing those things they feel so permanent - they feel like they're there forever - and much like bad weather, when you're in a dark spot it feels like this is just how it's gonna be. So it's about how those things will go away, and reminding yourself that behind all the darkness there is blue sky, you just have to hold out. And I feel like I articulated that clearest on this tune - it brought it all together which is why we ended up calling the record Typhoons, it just felt perfect."
It's safe to say we're delighted by what we've heard of the album so far, though the more established Royal Blood fans amongst you may be wondering what happened to the new tracks you've seen them perform live: King and fan favourite, Boilermaker. You're in luck, as Boilermaker has been announced as track 8 on the album. Rumour has it that King has been renamed as Limbo, and therefore takes its place at track 6. However, once the boys had established their new sound, many tracks from the pre-lockdown version of the album will be going unheard. "The old songs, they still exist, we still have them. I think we set the bar so high for this one so we wanted to really make something that we felt was better than anything we'd ever made, and simultaneously felt fresh. We didn't wanna come back with an album that could've been a mix of both our last two records - it wouldn't have been creatively satisfying, and in theory it would've been really terrible because we wouldn't have enjoyed it."
With a new-found emphasis on rock music you can boogie to, Mike and Ben have taken inspiration from bands like AC/DC to find their scintillating balance between dirty riffs and dance grooves. But the real reason for the funky new sound? COVID-19. No, we're not joking. "These new songs, they were made to make ourselves feel good. I think during the lockdown and pandemic, you kind of have two choices really: do I write about what's going on around me, which is miserable, or do we kind of create our own medicine? Do we make music that makes us feel good? We're in that band, we didn't wanna talk about what's going on, we wanted to make feel good music, you know?"
But what good is an album full of dancefloor-worthy bangers without the sticky floor of an arena? If you've ever been to a Royal Blood gig, you'll know that the energy is incomparable. We'd do just about anything to experience that again, and thankfully the boys feel the same. "It feels so strange releasing music without being with our fans. For us, the point of making records is to go out on tour, so to have that taken away from us is really strange. But like the lyrics of Typhoons, it's just about remembering that this won't go on forever. Live shows will come back and these songs will 100% be in them. We have some loose plans but not until January 2022. Everyone should keep an eye on what we're doing but we're waiting for the green light."
January can't come soon enough, but until then we'll be looking forward to the album - set to be released on the 30th of April - and blasting Typhoons on repeat.
Who Needs Friends
Million & One
Either You Want It
All We Have Is Now Bonus track (available on exclusive 7-inch) Space
Review by Courtney Myers