An American comedian called Bill Hicks once did a whole segment of his routine on the positive effect artists being under the influence had on music; he posited that if we believed that creativity in harness with drugs and alcohol was a sin, we should just take all the tunes we love and metaphorically burn them.
Hicks was both profoundly right and wrong throughout his short life, but whilst rock n’ roll is synonymous with excess, it’s almost never that total hedonism works out well for those concerned. Royal Blood frontman Mike Kerr was in a Las Vegas bar when the realisation hit him that change was needed: it’s a moment of clarity alluded to on the title track of their third album with ‘All these chemicals dancing through my veins / They don’t kill the cause – they just numb the pain’.
Along with partner Ben Thatcher, Kerr had experienced Royal Blood’s dizzyingly rapid ascent from basements to arenas, but although Typhoons lyrically covers some of the darker feelings that created, musically the duo have stepped away a little from pile-driving, blending in undertones of pop and funk without letting go of their trademark power completely. It’s a shift over the course of the album they grow into, with the likes of Either You Want It and Mad Visions showing them to be more than men intent on forever scorching the earth. Bill Hicks might not’ve approved of music that comes from straightness, but he might’ve liked this anyway.
You can read a full review here.