It would be easy to simply say that “Welcome To Grime Town” carried on from where 2021’s “Carry On” left off, and in some ways it does, certainly its clear from the slashing riff on “Tell Me” – and the exclamation at the start of “I thought I had it all!” (it could be any of them singing it as Grand Royale don’t have a lead singer, instead all of them take turns, so your guess is as good as mine) and the harmonies that follow, that there is more of the “classic Grande Royale” sound than the 2019 album, “Take It Easy” had.
Take “Status Doom” for example. It is a brilliant rock n roll song. The sort of rock n roll song where it sounds so classic that you convince yourself that you’ve heard it before, the sort of song where reviewers use phrases like “lo-slung” for the guitar solo, even though no one knows what it means, and you mention Chuck Berry even if, like me, you can’t stand the old pervert – and I am keeping that bit in.
It is a little different this time around, though. Literally, given that they’ve got a new guitarist in Calle Rydberg, and metaphorically with a foray into female vocals. indeed, Helen Vilsson’s performance on the wonderful “Run Officer Run” is one the highlights on an album with many of them.
Nine years into their career, GR have got a mastery of their craft. “Got Me Real Good” bounces, it fizzes, and the words “no more downsides” seems to underline the feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel here, not to mention n admirable desire to keep taking chances. To that end “Augury” is somewhere between surf rock and Iron Maiden in 1982. Mattias Rydell – of death metal bands like Mammon – guests here and this might be the heaviest thing they’ve done in their careers. That they follow it with some folk that Levellers fans might enjoy in the shape of “Utopia” might tell you all you need to know. The promo stuff for this might, urmmm, carry on like this is “Carry On” part two, but its not.
Interestingly, too, there seems to be a desire to shake off the “Baby Hellacopters” tag that you could justifiably level at them early on, and even when there is a taste of Nicke Andersson’s lot (he’d produced albums of Royale’s in the past), its done on their own terms, as “Freak Parade” proves.
Essentially, when you boil it down, Grande Royale are masters of three minute rock n roll songs. “You Move Around” is made for the live stages, surely and the same goes for “Stark Raving Mad”, which fizzes like a giant sherbet dip of a thing.
12 songs here. Just over 36 minutes. And zero fat. Zero dips in quality. Instead, even the deep cuts have a skill, “Choke On It” is fun, and the mid-paced “Seven Days No Sleep” might be the best thing here, the melody, the sentiment: “we will never grow old, no matter what they say” its not the essence of Grande Royale, but the essence of rock n roll itself.
So much so that even, “The End”, which points out “we’re out of chords, but we hope to see you soon….” Over a piano tinkle as if its stacking chairs in the hotel bar is surely tongue in cheek? They’ll never be out of riffs, won’t Grande Royale, and they’re the kings of Grime Town. You’re welcome.