The Royal Sound is a band consisting of Cody Jonsen (vocals/guitar), Al Apone (vocals/guitar/harmonica/percussion), Josh David Rubin (bass/vocals) and Smitch Feurstein (drums) who last year released a six-song EP entitled Cinema. The band is back with a twelve- song album entitled Reverse Engineers, which shows the band improving in all aspects. Everything from the songwriting to the production is better to my ears and points to a band that may have a lot more up their sleeve.
The songs on this album balance themselves between commercial viability and indie cred which can either ostracize the two groups or attract them. In my opinion it will be the latter because of the quality of the songs themselves. There were a few that were mediocre but a majority of them are good and a couple was exceptional.
The first song “Old Me” is a personal favorite that establishes a rock attitude with a slight country swagger. It’s a hard song not to get caught up in as it the as the drumbeat immediately establishes a kinetic energy that when combined with the guitars is a good time. On top of that the vocal melody is memorably and hook worthy.
“Beggar” slows down the BPM and introduces some blues into the mix while “Midnight Train” contains an ambient atmosphere that eventually veers towards post-rock. One of the finest moments on the album is about a quarter of the way through the song “Baby.” The song up to that point is an acoustic guitar and vocals. Jonsen repeatedly sings “Baby it’s not enough” as the band explodes into the mix with little warning. It’s a great move and the guitar part is one of the most memorable on the album.
Another highlight is “Ghost,” which isn't the most rocking song on the album but in my opinion is one of the most well written. They close with perhaps the most ambitious song on the album entitled “Clockwork.” The band sounds good covered in epic melancholy and that’s what they do here. I especially enjoyed some of the unconventional drum parts.
Overall, Reverse Engineers is a solid achievement and a step forward for the band. I’m going to enjoy this and look forward to their next effort which according to their website they are already working on.
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