Friday, February 10, 2012
REVIEW: Royal Baths - Better Luck Next Life
Brooklyn's Royal Baths emerged from the San Francisco noise/garage scene that has given us Thee Oh Sees, White Fence and other great bands, but they are following a very different muse than their California peers on their second full length, Better Luck Next Life. The more prominent influences for Royal Baths appear to be the Velvet Underground (both musically and lyrically), and maybe Link Wray.
Here is the video for "Faster, Harder", the album's third track --
Royal Baths are focused on the seamy side of life, where drugs, degradation, death and lots of sex are day to day concerns. There is humor, too, but even then the lean is to the darker side. The music matches the lyrics with an enveloping, almost suffocating presence. The guitars are up front in the mix, alternating between a roots twang, old delta blues and almost discordant psychedelic intensity. The drums pound menacingly in the background. The vocal duties are handled the band's founding members, Jeremy Cox and Jigmae Baer. The track names reveal their themes: 1. Darling Divine 2. Burned 3. Faster, Harder 4. Be Afraid of Me 5. Nightmare Voodoo 6. Contempt 7. Black Sheep 8. Map of Heaven 9. Someone New.
The opening track, "Darling Devine" --
Better Luck Next Life was released this week by Kanine Records. In addition to Cox and Baer, the band includes John Rau and Turner Halsey.
The band will be at SXSW next month.
Take a walk on the dark side of the street with Royal Baths; it is a rewarding trip.