The sophomore album from Brit-rockers Royal Blood is a punchy follow-up to their self-titled debut. Unfortunately, How Did We Get So Dark? lacks in many areas that made Royal Blood the captivating album that it was. The debut album from Royal Blood was rife with catchy riffs, gritty guitars and convincing vocals. How Did We Get So Dark? did not reach these marks, often finding itself feeling flat and repetitive, which is extremely disappointing. Despite this, the album shines in certain areas.
Particular songs emulate that of their debut album, catchy guitars and memorable vocals support a number of these songs. However, these particular positives don’t outweigh the negatives.
The standout tracks from the album, “Where Are You Now?”, “Look Like You Know” and “She’s Creeping” truly capture that quintessential Royal Blood sound. “Where Are You Now?” is a classic rock banger, where lead singer Mike Kerr nails the vocal performance. “Look Like You Know” is arguably the catchiest song on the album, with a real wavey type flow and a larger focus on attempting to maximalise. From the viewpoint of a rabid music fan, Royal Blood’s music can be likened very closely to that of Queens of the Stone Age. This is especially exemplified in “She’s Creeping”. The similarities to that of Josh Homme is uncanny, with many of the songs on How Did We Get So Dark? sounding like they belong on …Like Clockwork…or maybe a slightly more boring version of …Like Clockwork.
Although one would think this was a strength for the album, there are many times that the attempt falls flat. Songs like “Hook, Line & Sinker” and “I Only Lie When I Love You” become kind of tedious after a minute. The songs throughout the whole album almost sound like a Queens of the Stone Age cover band at 1.25x speed.
In the midst of the good and bad tracks are the forgettable tracks. “How Did We Get So Dark?”, “Lights Out”, “Sleep”, “Don’t Tell” and “Hole In Your Heart” all fall under this category. A large fault of Royal Blood’s style is the distinct lack of a lead guitar. This didn’t seem to be a problem on Royal Blood, but the song style and structure of the latest LP How Did We Get So Dark? called for a lead guitar. The quality of the forgettable songs would have been improved with the involvement of a lead guitar.
The follow up to the self titled LP was moderately disappointing, Royal Blood find themselves failing to capitalize on their momentum and fall into a music rut. If Royal Blood don’t put in any effort to innovate their style and sound, even the slightest bit, one would question their longevity in the cruel industry that is the music business.
Review Score: 4.6 out of 10.
How Did We Get So Dark? is out now.