Ten tracks of highly direct indie-pop-rock from Sydney’s own Royal Headache. Fronted by the improbably (and inevitably self-) titled Shogun, the four-piece group play songs that contain energy in the playing and tru-emotion in the lyrics. Yep, its all here. High is released on the What’s Your Rupture label.
CD £9.99 WYR0315CD
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Vinyl LP £16.99 WYR0315LP
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By now it’s clear there’s an indie rock renaissance taking place over on the Oceanic shores, more prominently in Australian cities such as Sydney, where scuzz rockers like Royal Headache are offered the chance to play at the opera house. ‘High’ actually exists in a different indie stratosphere to a lot of the Oz rock that’s been in our world recently: it’s less stoned-out, less furiously noisy, not quite as twee. Rather, Royal Headache sounds kinda like a glut of indie rock bands from the early oughts we might have forgotten about: on first take, many of the songs on ‘High’, whether through their melody or the half-gravelly vocals, recall folks like the Pigeon Detectives or the View.
The caveat here is that it’s a lot better, and many of these songs are pleasing to the ear: “Another World” glides by on a nifty chord-sequence and overenthusiastic drum fills, sealing the deal with a mix of screams and “la la la la las”. A pleasant riff introduces the world to “Wouldn’t You Know”, a sombre track that still twinkles with bright keys -- an old Tindersticks trick if ever there was one. These songs don’t break new ground, but they do make the old ground sound better, for the most part.
It’s the more jangly propositions that do the best work: “Carolina” strikes with acoustic strums and an insatiable chord sequence, while the vocals are ramshackle and distraught. It recalls recent records by Twerps and Dick Diver in its melancholy pop brilliance, and it’s that instinct that works best for ‘High’; when they’re rawking out over fuzzy old Britrock, I’m less about it. The rest of time, these folks go in.
9/10 Dizzy Grantham 18th August 2015
I've been in Australia for 6 months, and one of the big things I wanted to do here was see Royal Headache live. I got to do that earlier this year at the Sydney Opera House and what a night it was! Hundreds of kids stormed the stage in glee before it was shut down by police.
Listening to this album you will be able to see how this music inspires stage invasions. It is raucous, raw and gut punchingly melodic.
Coming across liked a Daptoned out Undertones, or maybe the Replacements fronted by Sam Cooke, this is genius stuff that will have you amped.
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