Regal is the solo project from Zach Buchholz. His self-titled release Regal is one that wants to inspire and motivate you. Buchholz has a lot in common with a band like The Fray and a copious amount of bands that tend to get labeled as “Christian rock.” The positive messages, uplifting choruses and lyrics often revolve around starting anew or being changed in some way.
Buchholz really goes for it, time and time again trying to topple every dramatic moment with another one. Take for example the opener “Found.” The song opens with piano and vocals and you will probably have a sense of where it is going thirty seconds in because the formula has been copied quite a bit after The Fray exploded. Nonetheless Buchholz builds intensity as the song progresses, which eventually leads to the first climax and release. It comes back around only this time only more intense.
“Disguise” was a welcome deviation after the emotional energy needed for the first track. It’s a bit more fun, laid back and relaxed. The guitar work is creative and especially enjoyed his lead work towards the three-minute mark.
After “Disguise” Buchholz returns to grand sounding piano based music. “Parade” is a predictable, single-worthy tune that reaches for higher and higher peaks as it progresses. I preferred the next track “This Dance” which almost has a Mike Oldfield vibe. If you are going to be big you might as well do it this way. Buchholz goes his most grandiose on “Better Life.” The song is full of platitudes and could easily be a song featured in a Disney movie or an American Idol audition.
Buchholz tends to over utilize the trick of going to a crescendo and then transitioning into a breakdown where it’s a piano and hushed, intimate vocals. I was hoping to hear a bit more experimentation but Buchholz seems enamored with this trope that is already used way too often in pop music.
For better or for worse Regal is emotionally exhausting if you listen to it from beginning to end. The only emotional break you have is “Disguise” and in all honesty I thought the EP would have benefited from more levity like that. It is obvious that Buchholz wants to inspire you to live your dreams, which is fine but perhaps the feeling like you have just completed hiking up Mount Everest and were immediately greeted with advice by Tony Robbins could be toned down a tad.
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