Royal Blood had boxed themselves into a corner with their first two albums and, for a period of time, it appeared as though they had no place else to go. Both their debut record and 2017’s How Did We Get So Dark? made them an arena-sized behemoth. It would have been straightforward for the duo to knock out another album of a similar vein, but instead, on Typhoons, they take pleasure from stepping foot into the unknown and come out swinging.
Menacing album opener, ‘Trouble’s Coming’, announced their comeback late last year when it was shared as their lead single, a track which set the tone sweetly for the rest of the record and the thrilling chapter they find themselves embarking upon. Royal Blood have plenty of fun on this album, which makes it an exulting listen.
Before Typhoons, Royal Blood had built up a reputation as a killer live band, a hype that grew to fever pitch as their first album earned a nominated for the Mercury Prize. Rather than try to expand on their sound, they stuck to what they knew best on their safe follow-up, a project which felt at times as if they were going through the motions.
Four years on, Royal Blood are more confident than ever, and by having courage in their convictions, their gamble pays off emphatically. If you enjoyed the first two albums, you’re still going to dig Typhoons. It has no shortage of face-melting riffs, scorching solos and mighty chorus’, but there are more levels to their sound now.
“I think we had a real hunger for something fresh. I think we both felt like we had exhausted our Royal Blood formula,” frontman Mike Kerr told Far Out about Typhoons. “We made two records were really happy with, but the idea of continuing and not changing was so uninspiring and not something we wanted to explore. We had no appetite to explore that whatsoever.”
Royal Blood didn’t need to take this gilt-edged gamble – which had the potential to alienate their loyal fan-base if it went wrong – but, if they didn’t take a risk and make music that got their pulses running, then what would be the point in being an artist?
‘Limbo’ is the most arresting track of their career and saw Royal Blood flex their muscles as tense as they can. The glittering song intoxicates the listener as it slowly builds up before the duo erupt into utter pandemonium, and land at a euphoric destination. Meanwhile, ‘Either You Want It’ sees Kerr unleash his inner Kevin Parker and make a brief voyage into psychedelia on the hypnotic anthem.
‘Boilermaker’ is one for the old-school Royal Blood fans and is a track that has been kicking around for years. In truth, the raw energy makes it an anomaly on the album, but because of the contrast with the rest of the record, ‘Boilermaker’ is a divine treat in isolation.
Typhoons is tinged with electronica almost throughout, which marks a progression for Royal Blood, who successfully show more of their spirited personality than they’ve ever managed to do before. Throughout the record, Royal Blood cultivates their conventional home of rock ‘n’ roll and combine it lusciously with their love of electronic music.
The most shining example of this is the triumphant brace of tracks, ‘Mad Visions’ and ‘Hold On’, which pulsatingly bleed into one another to create this six-minute Daft Punk-Esque rock anthem.
The final track on the album, ‘All We Have Is Now’, calls for last orders at the Typhoons Inn as Kerr is the last one still there, with just a piano for company. After the chaotic elation that Royal Blood litter across the rest of the record, the closer has an added poignancy and ends the album in a sobering, heartfelt manner.