Review: Royal Headache – High



4 OUT OF 5 NUTS!

royalheadache-highLet’s hope this isn’t the end for the Australian garage punk band Royal Headache, given talented lead singer Shogun’s history of losing interest in being part of living a rock n’ roll life. Shogun declared the band ‘over’ in a 2014 interview with Mess + Noise, only to more recently say the band was back on — kinda.

“I think everything we do feels temporary, and I think something that feels sincere and pure one week can feel ridiculous the next week,” Shogun said in an interview with Grantland.com. “The world moves really fast. I think that could be applied to anything — it’s scary, really. For now, I would say we’re definitely back together, but I’m tentative about it, you know?”

At least for now, we have High, the follow-up album to Royal Headache’s 2011 self-titled debut, which Shogun had agreed to finish before carrying out his original plan of leaving the group. That’s a good thing, because High rocks and is a superior, more polished follow-up to the 2011 debut, which in its own right was pretty good.

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Royal Headache deliver a mix of punk rock and smoother, more soulful songs, and it all works on High. The band is adept at delivering ferocious yet melodic punk as well as cranking out a crooning love song. Which style you prefer the most might be a matter of personal taste — fans of the more aggressive tracks may skip past some of the slower material — but either way, the majority of High is filled with enjoyable moments.

Chief among them are the opening track “My Own Fantasy” and its follow up “Need You,” which are good examples of Royal Headache’s punk prowess as well as their ability to mix in a little soul.

Another highlight is “Another World,” which features Shogun belting out an awesome howl or two:

Things slow down somewhat in the middle with songs such as “Wouldn’t You Know,” “Love Her If I Tried” and “Carolina,” which all might take some getting used to after the album’s fast start, but before long, you might be singing along with each of them.

It all comes together well and creates a strong, often energetic and exciting slice of music from start to finish, something that any fan of rock and/or punk should check out.

“I used to live in a world of rock n’ roll and tons of girls/It was my own fantasy” Shogun sings on the opening track, which feels like a personal account of where he stood with rock music when he wanted to walk away from it. Thankfully, he still lives in that world, at least for now. Let’s hope High is a sign of things to come from Royal Headache.

Release Date: August 21, 2015

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