Back in the dying days of last year, the good folk at the BBC put together a longlist of acts that (so they said) might define 2014. For rock fans it was a sign of the times: out of the 12 acts on the list only one was a rock band, and they weren’t exactly conventional. There were only two of them, for God’s sake, and neither of them even played the bloody guitar!
That duo, a pair of Brighton boys who call themselves Royal Blood, are now putting out a debut album on a major record label. It’s only been a year and a bit since they played their first gig, and that was after one hour’s practice. Whatever happened to ‘slow and steady’?
With that kind of time frame, it would be a real surprise if Royal Blood had had the time to craft an original sound. They haven’t, but it doesn’t really matter: using just drums and bass guitar, their hooky, hard-riffing, skull-rattling clinch of The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Queens Of The Stone Age is ridiculously listenable.
There’s more going on here than meets the ear, though. We’re not quite sure how, but Mike Kerr makes his bass guitar sound like Armageddon itself: even The Black Keys needed six strings to do what Royal Blood have done with four. Coming in at just over half an hour, their debut is a fast-and-dirty rock ’n’ roll smash-and-grab, with plenty going on under the bonnet. If this is really the future of mainstream rock, things could be a whole lot worse.
What do you think of ‘Royal Blood’? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”