Royal Blood from the UK is the perfect example of a no fuss, no frills approach with only two band members creating musical magic with only a bass guitar and drums. This is no ordinary bass guitar, though, as a variety of different effects pedals makes it sound like a guitar and Michael Kerr’s bass playing is of such quality that it blows your mind that only four strings are involved. This band certainly knows how to step it up a notch and their blend of groovy melodies, catchy hooks and soulful lyrics will get you to sit up and take notice. Michael Kerr (bass/vocals) and Ben Thatcher (drums) are the two members of this innovative and critically acclaimed band.
Honourable mentions: ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’, ‘Loose Change’.
5. Better Strangers
The slow pace of this song is what gives it that soulful and jazz-inspired edge. The intro with Thatcher’s drums sets the mood. It is a truly thick sound and it works perfectly with the lyrical content that focuses on broken relationships and the despair involved. To spare the pain, it would be better to be strangers. ‘You didn’t have to leave me so hollow, hollow. I don’t’ need you tonight so don’t follow, follow. Lost my heavy heart, it won’t be replaced,’ is just one example of Kerr’s lyrical nature and themes as he truly paints the melancholic nature with a dark mix of lyrics and musicianship on the bass.
4. Figure It Out
The bass guitar riff in this song has a lighter tone and will get you bobbing your head instantly. Kerr definitely knows how to push his bass playing to a different level and the tapping in the first verse is a perfect example. This is a faster number that has definite undertones of some White Stripes influences, especially in the chorus. One of my favourite parts of the song is the fast-paced bass and drum interlude that builds up with each bar and finishes the song off brilliantly. The technicality and effects on this song is a perfect example of why this band is so highly regarded.
3. You Can Be So Cruel
This is another fan favourite, mainly because of the lyrical content that speaks to the heart and the brooding intro riff that has a truly old-school 70s rock riff. The chorus is also incredibly addictive as Kerr shows off his vocals talent with ‘You can be so cruel. And that is all I’ve ever known. Cru –oh-oh-el’ as he extenuates the women’s cruelty with this delivery. The song almost ends too soon and I truly wanted more from this song.
2. Out of the Black
The recognisable drumbeat from Thatcher on snare drums is what gives this song its unique edge right from the outset. Thatcher then joins in with his distorted bass before the song transitions into a groovy verse section before the chorus storms back with ferocity: ‘You made a fool out of me. You took the skin off my back running.’
The lyrics once again point to deception and lies in relationships and this fits perfectly with the song’s structure and delivery of the vocals. The bass guitar work on this song is also great with a great riff in the chorus. This is one of Royal Blood’s most loved tracks and one can understand why. The song kicks up another gear after the second chorus as Thatcher pounds the snare drum with absolute ferocity. The odd-time signature also adds to the uniqueness of the song. The bass and drum outro also gives the song that final, hard-rocking edge.
Royal Blood’s number one song, in my opinion, is ‘Little Monster’, mainly because of the intro and main riff that are both intelligently written, simple and get stuck in your head. The chorus riff and bridge riffs are also beautifully constructed and just add to this superb song. Thatcher’s drumming is constant, rhythmic and keeps a great tempo – literally the foundation of every Royal Blood song. ‘Hey, little monster, I got my eye on you. Where are you going, where’ you running to?’ is just a sample of the lyrical nature of this band. A fantastic track and the things the bass guitar can do will blow your mind. It’s grungy, technical and a musical rollercoaster that will leave you begging for more.