City Paper is not for tourists
In advance of the September 15 release of their sophomore effort, Let It Beep, Knoxville, Tennessee’s the Royal Bangs are playing the Black Cat’s backstage tonight.The well-crafted Let It Beep rises above typical indie fare: Production is high, a must for a band that brings a multitude of sounds and styles, and the disc’s up tempo songs should translate well to a live setting.
The driving double shot of openers “War Bells” and “Poison Control” lay out an ambitious agenda for Let It Beep, an agenda slightly undercut by later lurches into synth territory. The Royal Bangs, however, are not shy about their intentions to fuse “two concepts: the electronic (thick synths and dance-y drum programming) and the pop/rock of the 1970s.”
While there are direct nods to ELO in “Maniverse“, I also heard echos of Tonight: Franz Ferdinand in the synth parts and Field Music’s knack for difficult time changes. The Royal Bangs make several sharp turns through styles and influences, veering from straight indie rock with a dash of jamband, to synth heavy 80’s callbacks. Although it’s occasionally jarring, that’s also one of the pleasures of listening to a promising band’s second album—hearing them find their footing while still staying true to their experimental indie roots. Additionally, Let It Beep delivers clever lyrical turns like the line “In the age of lasers we lost our shit” from “My Car is Haunted.”
Let It Beep was recorded for Audio Eagle Records, the label started by Patrick Carney of the Black Keys. The Royal Bangs plan to tour in support of the new album while opening for Carney’s side project Drummer this fall. The group has already opened for the Keys on their previous tours and acquired road scars from stints at Bonaroo and SXSW.
The album also has some seriously good art:
Listen to “My Car is Haunted” from the upcoming Let It Beep.