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Grande Royale - Breaking News

Grande Royale
Breaking News
by Jon Conant at 10 November 2017, 3:39 PM

So who’s ready for a Swedish Rock n’ Roll band on a quest to bring back early 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s style Rock? GRANDE ROYALE are an ambitious young band who self-released two albums before joining forces with The Sign Records to release their third and latest effort, “Breaking News”. The style throughout the album is consistently classic 90’s Rock and Roll driven by groovy guitar riffs and catchy melodies. The songs are performed well; this is a skilled young band, but unfortunately, much of it does fall into monotony, as they struggle throughout the album to switch up the sound and give the album a natural arc. It’s tough to create variety and layering in a band when you are dedicating yourself to a specific sound and style, especially one from 25+ years ago. But ultimately the thing that holds this album back is what I enjoy calling “The Mumford and Sons Dilemma”: it’s pretty good, but all the tracks sound mostly the same.

Know It All” is a strong album opener. It is catchy, fun, and energetic. “Brake Light”, the second track, improves upon the energy and fun of the opener. The highlight of this track for me is easily the drums, they were crisp, balanced, and really drive the song. Hampus Steenberg also lays down some fantastic vocals, although I’d love to hear a bit more of a variety in his vocal delivery as well. He tends to stick with the reserved, throaty halfway-hoarse singing that was made popular in the 90’s, which is great, but does wear thin after a while. If you have an amazing voice, don’t be afraid to use it! Nothing is worse than an artist putting themselves in a box, especially when it’s the lead singer.

Got to Move”, the 7th track on the album, is an absolute blast. The drumming is quick and fun, the guitar riffs are clever and performed excellently, and we hear Steenberg approach a bit more of a screaming sound on some of his vocal lines, which is really cool (this is rock, not metal, so context is important here). As a standalone, it sounds fantastic.

Album closer, “I’m On The Loose”, is another fun and well-performed song that is objectively enjoyable, but really serves as a summary of the overlying problem of the whole album. GRANDE ROYALE can’t seem to find a way to change up the sound, and by the 10th track, it has pretty much worn out. There’s no oomph in the closer, it just feels like another song and then the album is over. That’s a big problem for an album, and one you desperately want to avoid. Learning how to create an album arc is a crucial skill.

Overall I have to give GRANDE ROYALE a lot of credit and respect for this album. It is catchy, it is well written, and it is well performed. But, it still doesn’t save them from the fact that they chose a subgenre that died in 2005 and has become completely monotonous. But hey, shoot your shot.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 4
Memorability: 4
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Know It All
2. Brake Light
3. Devil’s Place
4. Breaking News
5. Live With Your Lie
6. Daily Illustration
7. Got To Move
8. One Second
9. R’N’R Business
10. I’m On The Loose
Lineup:
Hampus Steenberg - Lead Vocals
Gustav Wremer - Guitar
Andreas Jenå - Guitar
Calle Ljungström - Bass
Mackey Gustafsson - Drums
Record Label: The Sign Records
     


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