Rock duo switch it up on Album #3 with mixed results…

Think you know Royal Blood? Two piece blood ‘n’ guts rock music, right? Well, think again. Curiously, the pair have switched it up on their third album, with ‘Typhoon’ sounding more like Daft Punk than Kyuss – when it works, it’s a thrilling, festival-slaying brew.

Absorbing dancefloor elements into their muscular framework, Royal Blood tap into an increased immediacy, one that feels like those Justice live shows of old, while cribbing notes from the late Philippe Zdar. ‘Boilermaker’ may be produced by Josh Homme, but it feels a world away from the Desert Sessions – lit up by fluorescence, it’s an ultra-bright, digital-soaked offering that builds on Royal Blood’s sweat-drenched formula. - The highs are undoubtedly worth sifting through. ‘Trouble’s Coming’ is an ominous piece of studio bedlam that bodes well for the doors of the nation’s live venues swinging open, while the title track is a pedal-to-the-metal rock-meets-electro crossover moments.

It’s not dance deviance, though. The touching ‘All We Have Is Now’ allows Royal Blood to let their guard slip, while lyrically Mike Kerr is open and brave about his journey to sobriety.

Not every experiment works. The Prince squelch on ‘Mad Visions’ is a flailing bedroom-buster, while ‘Typhoons’ as a whole does have a tendency to let the needle slip beyond the red, its over-the-top urges hemmed in only by the array of guest producers.

That being said, it’s a ridiculous, and ridiculously enjoyable, treat, a sign that rock and dance don’t have to be at odds with one another. Taken as a whole, ‘Typhoons’ is a daring evolutionary gesture, one that finds Royal Blood claiming fresh ground for the future.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

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