Review: The Royal Bear – Attack

The press release for the debut album by The Royal Bear is almost endearingly naive. The first two paragraphs describe where they recorded, who produced them and who else recorded there (James Brown, Lionel Richie and The Strokes) although this reveals little about the Seattle band’s own music. How refreshing, though, that they want to “make music fun” and they achieve their simple mission on this energetic record.

On production duty is Ryan Hadlock who has mixed for The Strokes in the past. He probably enjoyed the way in which Cory Rain’s vocals slur in the manner of Julian Casablancas. ‘Guns At The Hip’ is a stirring opener and ‘Keeping Secrets’ emphasises their anthemic credentials further. When many albums enter a lull around the middle, the likes of ‘Sheppenwolf’ and ‘Dreamcatchers’ defy convention by bouncing off neat and incisive post-punk riffs. Rather like close sound-alikes We Are Scientists, their songs stick like glue to verse/chorus formats and even though several sound similar, any lack of invention is covered up by cohesion and a sense of urgency.

As a result, ‘Attack’ is undemanding fare but it has an undeniably infectious quality. One can imagine most of the songs here being played on the “indie” section of a commercial radio station. Nevertheless, a few more risks and changes of pace would serve them well for the future.

Web Sites:
The Royal Bear MySpace

Further Listening:
We Are Scientists

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