Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Royal Veil - King Of The Ocean

You probably decided a long time ago what you were going to listen to for the rest of your life. Yeah, maybe you think you're brazen in some of your choices because, hey, who else will listen to Megadeath and Duran Duran back to back (I don't judge, but I needed two quick acts that didn't really stand out to me so I could make my condescending point)? What I'm trying to get at here is, sometimes you really need to get out of your comfort zone to not only appreciate the music you love but, on occasion, other music as well. King Of The Ocean had me thinking the same thing.

The Royal Veil liken themselves to the Mars Volta, which is sensible enough, but a bit misleading. Sure, they both have a strange fixation towards really long songs, and there's a prog-rock underbelly to their tunes as well, but it's there where their similarities die off. I actually got a bit of a early Incubus vibe from these guys, a la the Fungus Amongus days. There's a tribalness to their work that's fairly obvious, but it works for them unlike the thousands of other bands who try for something similar.

"Circle Of Violence", which clocks in at a whopping 11 minutes, stands out as the key track of the album not because of it's length, but because it never succumbs to it. It's a pretty simple alternative rock track, but it does enough to stay strong for such a huge amount of time. "Entity", which would be my exhibit A in showing why these guys sound like Incubus, really drives home a fun energy people can't quite make anymore. It doesn't do much, but it doesn't need to when you're having fun with it to begin with.

Another track, "Into The Sun", which might be their exhibit A as to them sounding like The Mars Volta, has another excessive time-frame (7 minutes long), but pulls it off with better melodies then "Circle Of Violence". It's something I wish they did more of in general, because it sounds like they enjoy creating and playing it more than their other material.

King Of The Ocean wanders into some dark waters a few times, going a bit too commercial for my liking. "Tonic" feels less prog-rock and more just hard rock, which isn't a genre I have much love for. A bias, sure, but if you execute a hard rock song well, I'll at least admit to it's merits. But this song feels stale, and has almost no use being around. "Waters" and "Entity 2" feel uninspired, and I'd rather there just not be a song on an album instead of uninspired ones. That may be a vicious gripe of mine, but I've got to be honest here.

This album took me out of my comfort zone, but I still managed to come back in one piece (Though barely). The Royal Veil aren't bad, but, at least on this album, they're not good either. They have their strengths, and should they focus on them, it could lead them to make a stronger album in the future. Maybe it's not always good to try different things afterall.  - Shane

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