Typhoons, by British rock duo Royal Blood, featuring Bassist Mike Kerr and Drummer Ben Thatcher.
Royal Blood releases their long-awaited third album Typhoons via Warner Records. The four album singles and videos (“Trouble’s Coming,” “Typhoons,”“Limbo,” and “Boilermaker”) leading up to the album have created an overwhelming global impact, calling Typhoons the duo’s best record to date and the defining rock album of 2021. Upon the album’s release, Royal Blood have already accrued over 50 million streams and the biggest US airplay of their career crashing into the Rock and ALT charts last fall and consistently raising for the past 30 weeks to the #1 position. Critical response has been impressive:
When Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher sat down to talk about making a new album, they knew what they wanted to achieve. It involved a conscious return to their roots, back when they had made music that was influenced by Daft Punk, Justice, and PhilippeZdar of Cassius. It also called for a similar back-to-basics approach to what had made their 2014 self-titled debut album so thrilling, visceral and original.
“We sort of stumbled on this sound, and it was immediately fun to play,” recalls Kerr.“That’s what sparked the creativity on the new album, the chasing of that feeling. It’s weird, though – if you think back to‘Figure it Out,’ (from debut album) it kind of contains the embryo of this album. We realized that we didn’t have to completely destroy what we’d created so far; we just had to shift it, change it. On paper, it’s a small reinvention. But when you hear it, it sounds so fresh.”
After setting the tone with “Trouble’s Coming” and the aforementioned “Typhoons,” the album continues in breathless style with the fierce metallic grooves of “Who Needs Friends” hitting an early visceral peak. Royal Blood further reference their fresh confluence of influences by utilizing a vocoder vocal effect on “Million & One” before dynamically switching between the biggest contrasts of their sound with “Limbo.” Already a fan favorite having been a regular during the duo’s 2019 U.K. shows, “Boilermaker” lives up to its reputation and is more than matched by “Mad Visions,” which evokes a hyper-aggressive Prince influence. The album ends with a final surprise in the shape of the stark piano ballad “All We Have Is Now,” a vulnerable and revealing reminder to live in the moment.
That song’s unguarded sentiments give the album a redemptive finale. Whether directly or allusively, the album explores the flipside of success that they’ve experienced. It comes from the realization that success is much more complicated than it seems and that having the time to regain perspective is a precious commodity which becomes ever more elusive. The situation called for reflection and a change in lifestyle, which Kerr addressed during an end-of-tour trip to Las Vegas. He downed an espresso martini and declared it to be his last drink, and soon discovered that his new-found sobriety would have a positive impact upon his creativity and life as a whole.
That new approach manifested itself in the duo’s decision to produce the majority of Typhoons themselves. “Boilermaker” was produced by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, the two bands having first connected when Royal Blood supported them on their 2017/2018 North American tour. Meanwhile, the multiple Grammy Award-winner Paul Epworth produced “Who Needs Friends” and contributed additional production to “Trouble’s Coming.”