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Flux Outside

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Album Review

Featuring more of the robust and experimental dance-rock that originally got the band signed to Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney's Audio Eagle Records (and here to Glassnote), the Royal Bangs' third studio effort, Flux Outside, is a sprawling, frenetic battering ram of psychedelic indie rock. Produced by former Sparklehorse member Scott Minor and mixed by longtime Flaming Lips knob twiddler Dave Fridmann, Flux Outside doesn't so much rethink the approach as expand and codify the band's already impressive sonic palette. Previously, each of the band's tracks would exist within its own artistic space like a series of separate but not dissimilar installations, but here tracks seem to bulge into each other like giant mixed-media pieces barely contained by one gymnasium show. Cuts like the album-opening battle cry "Grass Helmet" and the chugging "Fireball" spew forth like hyper-colored trash barges riding the crest of giant blue waves. In that sense, with lead singer Ryan Schaefer's yearning, imperative croon and the band's orchestral punk vibe, Flux Outside sounds not unlike a lo-fi indie rock take on ELO. Ultimately on Flux Outside, with tracks like the driving "Triccs," the percussive and roiling "Bull Elk," and the epic glitter-meets-fusion rock anthem "Bad News, Strange Luck" — its spikes of electric guitar and blown-out synthesizer lines cascading down upon you — the Royal Bangs don't just grab you by the throat and demand your attention, they threaten to rip apart your speakers, drench you in your own dancefloor sweat, and leave you begging for more.


Formed: 2005 in Knoxville, TN

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Indie rock trio the Royal Bangs make rambunctious experimental rock with a bent toward '90s noise rock. Formed in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2005, the Royal Bangs feature former high-school friends singer/multi-instrumentalist Ryan Schaefer and drummer Chris Rusk as well as guitarist Sam Stratton. The band posted its music online and eventually caught the ear of the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, who signed them to his Audio Eagle Records label and released their debut, We Breed Champions, in 2008. The...
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Flux Outside, Royal Bangs
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