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Royworld - Man In The Machine

Royworld, Man In The Machine

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

UPBEAT positivity seems to be the key to success for a lot of bands for the moment; that and a deeply ’80s sensibility. Royworld are no exceptions to that rule but, for the most part, they keep on the right side of annoying.

Debut album Man In The Machine certainly gives bands like The Feeling a run for their money in the euphoria stakes but, thus far, they’re not quite as annoying. Quite when that will rub off remains a valid point to consider.

Royworld were formed in London’s Goldsmiths in early 2006 when songwriting partners and brothers Rod and Crispin Futrille, from Somerset, stuck an advert up on the college notice board. It was a subtle call to arms, and answered by fellow students Morgan and Miles. Parken, Miles’ old schoolmate in Harrogate, quickly completed the line-up.

Drawing on influences such as Roxy Music and Talking Heads, they quickly came to the attention of Jo Whiley at Radio 1 and Dermot ‘O Leary on Radio 2, who championed their skyscraping sound. Tracks like Elasticity and Dust certainly helped.

They positively explode to life, combining layered pianos and thumping drums with soaring, eccentric and dynamic guitar lines for a sound that’s both fresh and nostalgic. Elasticity is jerky but hopeful, vocally layered and deeply melodic, flitting between uptempo piano loops, falsetto vocal interludes and skyscraping guitar riffs. It builds to a heady climax that’s impossible not to get swept along with.

Dust continues that sensation – more soaring pianos and Embrace-style passion, coupled with a set of vocals that feel curiously like Hall & Oates. It really shouldn’t appeal, but it does and just like that you’re held in their spell.

The good feeling remains intact on Wish Ourselves Away, while there’s a nice change of pace into acoustic territory for Brakes, a slow-builder that finds the band a little less confident and just as endearing. It eventually comes to life, but it’s a much more measured effort that hints at a really bright future.

Thereafter, the album continues to engage but the formula threatens to become a little repetitive. Tracks like Science and Back Of My Mind, while fun, don’t really expand the sound or hint at any changes of direction. Indeed, it’s not until the spaced out electronica of Astronaut that the album dares to try anything really different again and it’s a welcome slow-builder that unfolds on an epic scale.

Brother and Tinman are also good late additions; the former embracing the same acoustic qualities as Brakes and the latter couched in a somewhat more melancholy tone.

So, while Royworld’s debut will certainly test your patience at times, there’s plenty to admire too. It should also be fascinating to see where they go from here.

Download picks: Elasticity, Dust, Brakes, Astronaut, Brother, Tinman

Track listing:

  1. Elasticity
  2. Dust
  3. Wish Ourselves Away
  4. Brakes
  5. Back Of My Mind
  6. Science
  7. Transmission
  8. Man In The Machine
  9. Astronaut
  10. Same Sun
  11. Brother
  12. Tinman