From Austin, Texas, Royal Forest are a bunch unafraid of experimenting with sound. I don’t just mean some backwards guitar or a few faux loops dotted around – I mean really experimenting. So far they have recorded and filmed songs in an aeroplane above Austin, inside a WWII submarine, and during a lightning storm in the desert sand dunes of West Texas. Clearly dissatisfied with the status quo, and hardly surprising with a videographer and an audio engineer amongst their members.
SpillWay was recorded to tape by the band and then mastered at Abbey Road Studios. All too often experimental can also be a by-word for unlistenable, but this is far from the case here, a cocktail of catchy riffs and vocal harmonies throughout make it ridiculously palatable, even on first listen. Early tracks “Everyone Who Knows You” (with a menacing bass-line not dissimilar to Radiohead’s “National Anthem”), “John Denver” and “Gold Wallpaper” hook the listener immediately giving the intricate drum patterns and experimental side of the tracks time to settle further in on the album. Slower tracks such as the contrasting piano and bass sections of “Black Hills”, or “Broken Bow” are less punchy but still as catchy. “Man-Made Lakes” has elements of early The Strokes type guitar riffs, not as clean though, more raw.
A fairly short album at around thirty-five minutes, and although never short on ideas is let down slightly by failing to really keep a common thread. Definitely worth checking out, it’ll be interesting to see where the four-piece go next with their music and if their videos and PR is anything to go by definitely a band who thrive in the live environment by reinventing what they’ve previously recorded.
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