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Royalty – Eroica review

Three records in and Royalty are seemingly developing an unpredictable quantity. Their first appearance on Five Easy Pieces seemed so clear in its intent. It moved between tempos, but throughout there was an electro funk squelch that was being refigured to modern beats with a very particular flair. Although being far from a repeat performance Purple Nights seemed to continue this distinct approach, snapping further heads in the process and showing a way one of the most innately danceable strains of electronic music, boogie, could be thrown down in a modern setting. It felt like we knew what Royalty were bringing us.

Now comes their third EP and it seems like all bets are off as to where the duo of Chesca and Yorke could be heading. The classic signifiers of early to mid-80s club music are still very much present on both new original tracks, “Eroica” and “Vector Glide”, but it’s the former that puts the former trajectory of Royalty into a spin. With the assistance of a sultry vocal turn from Kissey Asplund, the pair has swerved into crafting a bombastic ballad loaded with an allure that reaches far beyond the trappings of the underground electronic music circuit. There’s an Italo thrum to the arpeggiated bassline which only adds to the heated sensuality of the track, but what really comes across is how ready Royalty sound to be writing songs as opposed to tracks. Still working with their trusty range of synthesisers, the elements remain sparse and poignant, but the switch between verse and chorus ebbs and flows naturally, dictated more by the production rather than the vocal.

Elliot Yorke indulges himself in his burgeoning downtempo solo project on the remix, keeping the vocal intact and sowing a delicate smattering of his own analogue squiggles underneath while the beat creeps along at a snails pace. It’s a more explicit example of the sensibilities he brings to the table in the shared productions. Meanwhile “Vector Glide” smacks more of Chesca’s love of house music, albeit at a mean low tempo to provide maximum slow grinding potential on the floor. It’s a vibe much more in line with the work Royalty have made their name on thus far, and it’s encouraging to know that inimitable sound they struck upon won’t be ditched any time soon.

However the success they’ve found in attempting a proper pop record poses exciting prospects for the time ahead. With a sound so rooted in one of the finest ears of pop music, they could truly bring skills to smack the charts upside the head with, and not compromise a jot in the process.

Oli Warwick


Tracklisting:

1. Eroica ft Kissey
2. Eroica (Instrumental)
3. Vector Glide
4. Eroica ft Kissey (Elliott Yorke Atlantean remix)