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Royaume des Morts

Royaume des Morts

(L'oeil du Tigre; US: Import; UK: Import; Online Release Date: 11 May 2010)

A murky, muddy recording

The first thing that strikes the listener about Canadian sextet Royaume des Morts’ self-titled debut is the extraordinary muddiness of the mix. Songs like “The Tape Deck Ate My Hit” and “Motherless Kids Have Eyes” are buried under layers of reverb and toothless midrange guitar tones, with oppressive degrees of bass slathered on top. Occasional sonic highlights appear—a snapping snare demands attention in “Violence”, a glockenspiel rings through “Pills”—but these just point up the fact that, most of the time, nothing steps forward from the stew. This is most egregious in regard to the vocals, which are rarely comprehensible and often barely audible.


The songs themselves are reminiscent of shoegaze, mixed with a good-sized dollop of ‘80s alternative rock acts like The Cure. The Elliot Smith-esque vocal stylings are most apparent on “Sunday Sunny Sunday”. Fans of the era might want to give this a listen, but be forewarned: there’s nothing wrong with your speakers. The record really does sound like that.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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