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Album Review: Royal Bangs - "Brass"

Knoxville's Royal Bangs teams up with producer/Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney for Brass, an album that combines gritty guitar work with some deliciously fuzzy bass lines.

Royal Bangs
Modern Art Records

Knoxville’s Royal Bangs prove there’s a whole lot of music happening in Tennessee besides in that other town a few hundred miles down the road. And though it’s a touch difficult to slap a label on exactly what this band is because of the varying styles, tempos, and sounds throughout, their fourth full-length record is still a cohesive batch of tunes that exude energy.

Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney discovered and signed the band six years ago, but this is the first record he’s produced for them. With all the shimmer and shake of the three opening tracks, one might start to think the Bangs are a grittier version of the Strokes, but there’s more going on here. There are flavors as far ranging as Ben Folds Five with all the deliciously fuzzy bass to Radiohead and the Replacements. The guitar work in the opening of “Hope We Don’t Crash” recalled Joy Division for a moment before the song morphed into more of an indie-rock anthem.

Brass is best served up loud, and it evokes that feeling of stumbling across an edgy, kick-ass bar band you haven’t seen or heard before. It’s raw, honest, and a lot of fun. —Rich Osweiler

Must-hear tracks: “Better Run,” “Laurel”