If asked "What kind of music do you like?" I generally think for a moment or two before responding (in an admittedly non-committal way) "All sorts really". Why am I telling you this? Well, this 5 track demo by The Outside Royalty is a perfect example of why I answer the way I do. Try as I might I can't find any neat little pigeonhole into which I can happily place them and frankly, to do so would be doing them a disservice as they'll appeal to a broad cross section of open minded people. One thing I can say though - metal they ain't! If you want a balls out rock 'n' roll band - look elsewhere.
So who do they sound like? Well, maybe my musical tastes are not as wide as I thought because they sound unlike anybody I've ever heard before and therefore I have no choice but to say that they sound like "The Outside Royalty". That's not to say that they don't have influences. For reasons that I can't quite fathom (though it may the vocalists occasionally uncanny ability to sound like Bryan Ferry) the main thought that comes to mind is early Roxy Music - back when they were able to somehow obtain success by taking a commercial sound and subtly warping it to the point where it's familiar enough not to alienate people but still be ever so slightly unsettling. It's not a direct lift of their sound by any means, more a subtle, lingering but not unwelcome after taste.
I'm partial to opening track "Falling (Part 2)" - an off kilter love song that seems to be about two people falling in love as they plummet from the sky and finally hit the ground. Or maybe, it's an allegory about how we start off madly in love and all is well and then we get faced with harsh reality and hit the ground with a thump - who knows! Their lyrics are all slightly "out there".
Third track, "Three, Two of One" starts with a suitably raucous countdown (well as raucous as this lot get), acoustic guitars a blazing, synthesizers bleeping erratically before breaking through to a more relaxed song that sounds like you're soaring gently above the crowds before descending once more into a frenetic ending. There are very subtle hints of the 'Kitchens of Distinction' here who also had a tendency to make use of slightly spacey synthesizers interspersed with the occasional soaring guitar but again any influence is subtle.
There's liberal use of string instruments on all five tracks. No; not guitars (though an acoustic guitar is used throughout) but a violin and a cello which gives all the tracks a very distinct sound. The whole thing is topped off by a cover of the Beatles "Eleanor Rigby" done in their own inimitable ever so slightly warped style and quite possibly my second favourite cover of a Beatles track - ever (Second only to Husker Du's magnificent version of "Ticket to Ride").
By the end of this year,
if there is any justice at all, The Outside Royalty will be a household name.
I for one can't wait for an album and will be making every attempt to see them
live should they ever venture up North. My recommendation is that you should
make the effort to see them too. In the meantime, get yourself a copy of this
by Phil T.
Visit the Outside Royalty Website