Many years ago I heard a song from Royal Bliss called Crazy. The song itself pretty much defined everything I love about music and finding new bands. Since then I’ve dug into their history and wow, there’s a lot of it. Coming together in 1997 out of Utah, they are a very hot band regionally but seldom saw them outside the northwest. I missed one show at Trees here in Dallas and damn it – their show coming up in Dallas just got cancelled. Now I must live vicariously through their online presence until they come back through.
While predominantly some form of a rock band, Royal Bliss has delved into country at times. Hell, they even have an Irish drinking song about “me grog”. The Truth, a 5 song EP released in 2016, was a quick dive into a “new” direction as the band went country with “We’re All Living the Dream” off of The Truth. For country, there’s still a lot of rock in there somewhere.
That brings us to modern times where Royal Bliss has decided to move away from that idea. Going back to rock with their self-titled release Royal Bliss, now available, hits the mark. In listening to The Truth now and then shifting to their latest release, one thing is very clear. Country, irish drinking, rock, there’s a lot of sides to this band that at times seems in a struggle to find themselves. However, along the way they do put out some honestly greatly music. You can read up on more of their history and times you may have seen Neil Middleton on TV.
Let’s just focus on their latest release at this point. I point out all the past directions and music from this band because you can find it all in this latest release if you listen and are aware of it. Rock that still carries a touch of country at times, there’s no mistaking it *is* rock and roll based.
Starting off with Hard and Loud, they come back from their country hiatus setting the tone for this release right off the bat. In fact Rock and Roll is said quite often in this song to ensure you get the point they’re back to this genre. Hard, Loud, rock and roll baby.
Devil with Angel Eyes was a pre-release and something we’ve played quite often and lives in our rotation as well. There’s more of a haunting feel to this one that has a touch of blues. You’ll even hear past significant musical references within the lyrics. In the end, this is their transition song back to rock. It certainly has that “country” background that weaves in and out of their music, intentional or not.
Pain was recently dropped from this self-titled release and we’re back to straight ahead rock and roll.
Ok. Now we’re here. My favorite song off Royal Bliss is Paranoid. Middletons rasp and roll vocals phase in and out of the edge to the smooth tones all the way through. There’s a certain build up from the start that comes to a hard and heavy conclusion where he’s still running for his life, thinking he’s just paranoid. It’s different enough to stand out and energetic enough to hold its own.
Shifting back to a Crazy type feel and a countrified set of emotions, Light of the Moon weaves in and out of again, many musical styles that Royal Bliss has adopted along the way. Great song, just don’t try to pin it to a certain genre.
We go back and forth with our rock and roll until we reach my 2nd favorite song on the release, and oddly enough, the last one. Whether you’re Willie Nelson, Kid Rock, Snoop Dogg there are in fact common denominators in musical styles that transcend the style and here we are. Smoking Weed in my Underwear. We once again mix between country and rock and that’s fine. That’s Royal Bliss. A little bit country and a whole lot of rock and roll. Time and experience has created this sound of theirs I’ll continue to appreciate as long as they keep putting out music like this.
It’s not really worth a country or rock debate when the music is just good. With the latest release of Royal Bliss, we do bounce around in styles, but it’s just good music. In the end, that is what matters and their latest release certainly matters in the world of rock and roll.
Now god damn it guys, get back to Dallas!
Neal Middleton – Lead Vocal, Guitar
Taylor Richards – Guitars, Vocals
Jake Smith – Drums, Percussion
Brian Hennesy – Bass, Vocals