Boston Hassle, Sarah Moylan - March 2nd 2015
The eternally underrated Boston-area vets of Royal Wedding are back at it with Dry Lagoons. Their skeletal, razor-sharp take on a genre that already can be sufficiently creepy when it wants to be– new wave– is an eerie, but welcome, contrast to a Boston scene that’s saturated with friendly, fuzzy noise and wandering experimentation.
With monotone, almost robotic vocals paired with dissonant guitar lines and relentlessly driving bass and drums, Dry Lagoons embraces the cooly sinister vibes that made bands like Joy Division and, more recently, Interpol, so compelling. Also adding to the hipness factor: it was produced at the very cool Berwick Institute in one of Boston’s grittier neighborhoods, Dudley Square.
But not content to simply imitate their predecessors, Royal Wedding add their own unique touches to their musical approach, most notably a very notable surf/middle eastern guitar influence (prominent on “Xenophobe” and “Controllers”). And there’s a rawness felt here–hear the bottom channels of the bass crunch out a little bit– that’s so rarely heard on recordings from new wave bands this good, generally because they’re signed to a major label. It’s like getting front row seats to the coolest band in town, playing in your basement.
Find Dry Lagoons (name your price on Bandcamp) here, or streaming below, and check out other Royal Wedding releases while you’re at it. They’ll be playing this Saturday (March 7) at Out of the Blue Gallery in Cambridge.
, Conor Crockford - March 24th 2015
Royal Wedding are one of the few indie rock/post-punk bands out there that I'd actively describe as "creepy." A friend noted that the opener, "Goldchain," a submerged, low-key shuffle with vocalist and guitarist Eric Boomhower murmuring in echoes that "lord don't give a damn/where you keep those hands," is "a song you're playing when you murder people" and that's true of a lot of the album. The nearest comparison I'd make is The Fall in terms of herky-jerky guitar rock, but it's a bit more danceable than Smith's groaning snarls and the guitar often has a glittering, almost pristine sound to it, as though if you took the guitar part in your hands it'd break into pieces. It's as if the Velvets of "Lady Godiva's Operation" recorded a record with Talking Heads in mind.
The result, with its strong rhythms and disdainful, often chilling lyrics is deeply unsettling. There's a sense of rock n' roll mayhem here along with ordered perfection that most veteran bands would kill for -- and the band has reached that level on their first full album! "Sequence," for example, is groovy and sexy, all while being icy cold and deeply detached. Royal Wedding also have the ability, like Viet Cong, to play a kind of jangling, nasty post-punk without recalling a certain Manchester band that broke up in 1980 (let's just call them JD) and while forging their own sound. And a rhythmic band like this is only as good as its bass player, and all credit goes to Colin Asquith whose bass burbles and shivers while providing a consistent straight line for the band (and Andy Abrahamson's tom-tom drums) to all spiral around.
In a local scene that is filled to the brim with young, vaguely asexual grunge bands who all sound like Dinosaur Jr. and beg their girl to understand them, Royal Wedding's new album is a stand-out, a collection of dark thoughts and sounds. It begs you to move, think black things, and indulge in the secret underbelly of a long and snowy winter (or a relentless heat depending where you live). One of the best of 2015 so far.