tTunes | Snappier, tighter Royal Blood rock on ‘Typhoons’

Royal Blood, “Typhoons” (Warner Records)

Most rock duos are based around the guitar-and-drums concept — think The White Stripes or The Black Keys. Now imagine taking away the guitar.
That’s Royal Blood, a band of just two Englishmen that rocks like any other band but just without the axe. They simply don’t need it and their third full-length album, “Typhoons,” questions why we are all in love with six strings anyway.
With tracks like “Boilermaker” — with production help from Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age — “Trouble’s Coming” and the awesome title song, Royal Blood trend toward a snappier, more danceable groove but they kick up a fuss.
Singer, keyboardist and bassist Mike Kerr puts the bass front and center, often fuzzed-out and doing a solo. Drummer Ben Thatcher attacks his kit like a jackhammer operator. This is stripped-down garage rock blessed with massive hooks.
The band emerged in 2014 with its energetic self-titled debut that had a dirtier, messier feel and became a hit in Britain, even being nominated for a Mercury Prize. Kerr and Thatcher cleaned and refined their sound with their sophomore release, “How Did We Get So Dark?”
The new album is even tighter and more focused, a neater distillation of Royal Blood.
One curious footnote is the final song. After 10 head-banging tunes, the album ends with Kerr abandoning his bass and singing the gentle, Coldplay-ish “All We Have Is Now” on piano. “All we have is now/So just let it go,” he sings. Could this signal a future new path? Whatever it means, this is a band to watch.

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