Arcade Fire have a lot to answer for. It seems that they single handily are responsible for the wide-spread dissemination of string sections in modern bands. Outside Royalty are one of these bands. They quite obviously are influenced by the Fire. The songs are ragged affairs with so much going on musically that it is hard to tell which instrument is which. The lyrics too are very Arcade Firesque with oblique references to lord knows what.
Even in their cover versions this very oddness seeps through. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ first recorded by the Beatles (I’m a doctor of musical history – hence why I needed to teach you that there), is a most trippy affair and sounds as if a band of people who were part of the care in the community programme have re-recorded the song while high. But this is no criticism. The band excel in this oddness and all in all it is, in fact, rather charming.
Hailing from various places in the USA and, somewhat bizarrely, the post-industrial wasteland that is Middlesbrough in the North-East of England, the band have recently settled in London. It seems that I’m not the only one taking notice of this band as they are soon to appear on Channel 4 in the UK in the “Road to V Festival” competition which, if they are successful, will mean that they play one of the UK’s largest music festivals.
‘Falling (Part 2)’ sees vocalist Adam Billing create one of the most catchy songs to ever feature harpsichord, soaring violins , bizarre drumming and vocals which creep slowly up before they themselves start falling. A truly brilliant song which deserves to be known by the wider public. ‘The Voice Between the Rubble’ is a less poppy affair which starts out slowly with acoustic guitar strumming and plaintive violin. By the end of the song the entire ensemble has cut in and it’s a great anthem in the purest Arcade Fire tradition. ‘Three, Two of One’ is a beautiful jam-based track which sounds great with their bizarre array of instruments. ‘My Constitution’ manages to keep a quick tempo and one can’t help but bop along to this tune. Finishing with the aforementioned ‘Eleanor Rigby’, one is left wanting more from this band.
All in all, this release comes as a charming surprise. If there ever is to be a “new” Arcade Fire, then Outside Royalty should be that band. With a little more time, a few more songs, a phat record contract and with support from an enthusiastic label, Outside Royalty could go far. Very far indeed. Check out their MySpace now and go and see this band if you can. You will not be disappointed.