Music

The Royal We: The Royal We

The Royal We rocks just the way any other wobbly gig loaded with artsy part-time barista types ought to. Except that these guys also possess the rare ability to write stupid-good songs.


The Royal We

The Royal We

Contributors: Simmons, Jihae
Label: Domino
First date: 2007-11-05
US Release Date: 2008-08-19
UK Release Date: 2007-11-05
Website
Amazon
Amazon
iTunes

This one’s a Glasgow baby through and through. Birthed amid the ramshackle cacophonia of dorm-room jam sessions, and then rushed through to an especially pimply adolescence, this jagged little fragment of hyperactive twee pop somehow managed to grow into a gangly, undersized amalgam of the Raincoats, Vaselines and Belle & Sebastian. Led by lost angel Jihae Simmons, whose voice is, in fact, more Eugene Kelly than Frances McKee, the Royal We rocks just the way any other wobbly gig loaded with artsy part-time barista types ought to. Except that these guys also possess the rare ability to write stupid-good songs.

For starters, the ukulele on “Back and Forth All Day” is just about as dry as good British humor gets, stomping all over the prissy little tea parties of lesser devils like The Boy Least Likely To. Furthermore, Simmons tends to write the sort of lyrics you can basically memorize after three listens while thankfully sidestepping the more than occasional four-tracked Alanis-isms of soul sister Kimya Dawson. Instead, lyrics that run, “Call this home ‘cause you’re my sweet / And home sweet home is where we meet / So please be patient at the station / Nothing will bring our defeat,” register as razor ammunition for the album’s greater rejection of lame “hit it and quit it” jive posturing. Other tunes to tackle the subject include the stupendously repetitive “All the Rage,” as well as the referential/reverential “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Incidentally, “All the Rage” is the album’s best track -- an irrepressible blast of melody rudely anchored by the dirt-simple frenzy of the band’s performance. Following an introduction of escalating “Ooh-ahs,” the song’s dueling, triangular guitars seem to suggest a ragged response to the karate chops of not-quite-royals Franz Ferdinand. Its chorus, on the other hand, has more in common with the softer, breathless vocal delivery of Belle & Sebastian’s “Sleep the Clock Around.” Whatever the case may be, the song figures to be featured heavily on more than a few of your next iTunes party playlists. Honestly, you won’t be able to fight it. But just how hooky is it, you ask? Think of a curly hedgehog or something. In fact, it might even be hookier than Dustin Hoffman in Hook! And that, my friends, defines as pretty hooky.

Unfortunately, though, the band has called it quits. Indeed, apparently modeling their career on the fifteen-minute noise explosions of early Jesus and Mary Chain shows, the Royal We is no more. Once again, the Vaselines’ abbreviated oeuvre comes to mind. For, despite an unusual compulsion to pass along the torch so hurriedly, the Royal We certainly seem a more than worthy addition to the still vibrant Glasgow tradition. At any rate, having jabbed at indie success and scored at least one good hit, the band and its sole record -- comprising just over twenty minutes of music -- will surely be remembered for its insistent, unselfconscious songs as well as its endless playability. Did I mention that they cover Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game?

9
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?

Music

Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.

Music

Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.

Music

Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.

Music

Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.

Film

Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.

Books

Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.

Music

Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.

Film

Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Music

Inventions' 'Continuous Portrait' Blurs the Grandiose and the Intimate

Explosions in the Sky and Eluvium side project, Inventions are best when they are navigating the distinction between modes in real-time on Continuous Portrait.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.