12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Royal Bangs of Knoxville, Tenn., have made their connection to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney even more pronounced by having the owner of their record label also produce their fourth album, Brass. It’s a smart idea, since Royal Bangs' main problem has been figuring out who they want to be. Previous albums were so herky-jerky in their intentions that they were nerve-wracking affairs, as frontman Ryan Schaefer could never focus on one idea for long. Brass still sounds like several bands on one album, but at least Royal Bangs can sound now like the same band for an entire song. “Better Run,” for example, bounces like many modern groups that use bright keyboard lines to create excitement. “Octagon” slides into a Jeff Lynne/ELO groove. “Laurel” works off a mild reggae rhythm. “Sun Bridge” jacks things up to Ramones speed and turns out a ‘70s ZZ Top-Golden Earring performance. “CA Heart Attack” evokes a mellow early-‘70s Southern California vibe. Royal Bangs are capable of being many things, and this album is like cycling through Rock History 101.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Royal Bangs of Knoxville, Tenn., have made their connection to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney even more pronounced by having the owner of their record label also produce their fourth album, Brass. It’s a smart idea, since Royal Bangs' main problem has been figuring out who they want to be. Previous albums were so herky-jerky in their intentions that they were nerve-wracking affairs, as frontman Ryan Schaefer could never focus on one idea for long. Brass still sounds like several bands on one album, but at least Royal Bangs can sound now like the same band for an entire song. “Better Run,” for example, bounces like many modern groups that use bright keyboard lines to create excitement. “Octagon” slides into a Jeff Lynne/ELO groove. “Laurel” works off a mild reggae rhythm. “Sun Bridge” jacks things up to Ramones speed and turns out a ‘70s ZZ Top-Golden Earring performance. “CA Heart Attack” evokes a mellow early-‘70s Southern California vibe. Royal Bangs are capable of being many things, and this album is like cycling through Rock History 101.

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