The Royal They may not be tearing up the airwaves nationwide but New York knows it has a homegrown treasure going on in the Brooklyn based 3-piece, and in the immortal words of New York hip-hop legend Cam’Ron “you can fool the rest of the world, long as New York know.” The group has been packing rooms within northern Brooklyn’s DIY garage rock scene and they are primed to blast off into the general lexicon of rock ‘n roll due to their flawless mix of garage, punk, and indie to create a sound that is equal parts aggressive and angelic.
Their January 2018 release Foreign Being is a magnificent listen from start to finish. It comes on extremely abrasive with their tune “C.N.T.” a track that goes from dark and heavy too fast and loud. The group’s frontwoman and guitar player Michelle Hutt puts on quite a vocal performance on the album’s first track going high and loud without ever shrieking. “Sludgefucker” comes on next which keeps going with the fast and loud guitars, but the shift in vocal performance makes this tune come off a lot more in the vein of indie rock than punk. It really highlights the power of their lead singers voice to determine the overall direction of the group’s sound.
Not to take anything away from the other two fabulous musicians in the band Darrell Dumas and Rick Martinez on guitar and drums respectively because they both delivered spectacular performances on Foreign Being, but the voice on Hutt is truly transcendent.
The album’s third track “Flying Naked” is by far the longest, coming in at more than a minute longer than anything else on the record. The Royal They use all of that time to let the suspense and intrigue build before they tear it all down with one of their signature heavy breakdowns. “Pandemic” is another heavy and loud one but they never get so loud that Hutt’s voice isn’t the focus of the track. She really does have an incredible set of pipes to be able to wail over her exceptionally talented albeit heavy-handed band mates.
The record takes a distinctly indie turn following “Pandemic” as it goes into the significantly lighter tunes “Veritas,” “Needler,” and “Waiting Game.” They still bring the hard and heavy guitars and they start using feedback and fuzz almost like an instrument of its own. But the songs really allow the prettiness of Hutt’s voice to shine through in a way that the earlier tracks just did not.
“Say Less” is the album’s eighth song and for my money, it is the undeniable hit. Of every track on the record “Say Less” is the one that really allows all of the different influences that have affected The Royal They’s music to gel together to make for an outrageously raucous punk tune that still allows for Michelle’s gorgeous voice and the indie/pop punk aesthetic that keeps The Royal They from jumping headfirst into punk rock.
“Leech” comes on strong with a driving drum riff which breaks into a power cord laden anthem complete with call and response gang vocals. They follow that up with “Gullethead” and “Weekender” to round out what is a tremendous effort by a band on the rise in the Big Apple.