I honestly believed that Royal Blood were a one album wonder.
Don’t get me wrong, Royal Blood are quite easily one of the best bands of the last decade, especially live and always have been. But I didn’t think they could build upon their solid self-titled debut album and I was wrong, very much wrong and ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ is for the most part, magnificent.
‘Lights Out’ is a thundering track that pulls everything together that makes Royal Blood such a solid band whilst still somehow managing to add something to the equation. It’s full of animated bass hooks and monstrous drumming, but it’s the use of space that makes this track. Following on from this, the in your face, ‘I Only Lie When I Love You’ is complete with cowbells and an insane amount of energy, even a feeling of anger throughout.
Although being more of a slow-burner, ‘She’s Creeping’ features falsettos aplenty when it finally gets going, but the more you listen to it, the more it feels like it fits on the album. ‘Hook, Line & Sinker’ didn’t in fact hook me, line and sinker either. The track is very much a grower, but its swaggering and very much feels like it could’ve fit on Royal Blood’s debut rather than ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’.
The Fender Rhodes bass sound on ‘Hole In Your Heart’ is quite possibly one of the best things about the album, made even the better by fact that the melody is actually Winnie The Pooh influenced. It’s got an elephant’s stomp to it which is carried throughout the album. An organised chaos ending which keeps catching me off guard as I feel it’s going to go out of time, but never does.
‘How Did We Get So Dark?’ as a whole does have moments where it’s not as strong as the likes of their self-titled debut, but it’s an album that you can stick on and feel compelled not to turn it off however much you need to track after track. It’s well thought out and full of intricacies regarding space in their sound, whilst still managing to sound effortless. The album is definitely up there as an album of the year though, that’s for sure.