The Flux Outside
Release Date: Mar 29, 11
The Royal Bangs, throughout their three album discography, have done what so many recent artists have tried (and failed) to do: they have made an original sound without taking their music to some galactic, nonsensical version of noise. They’re refreshing and different, while still keeping their feet on the ground.
The Bangs have drawn comparisons to The Rapture and Passion Pit, which I find misleading. While it’s hard to accurately place them in a genre (especially because it seems every band enjoys labeling themselves with the most obscure, inaccurate genre on MySpace), it can easily be said that the Royal Bangs hit harder and have less of a focus on pop sounding tracks than both Rapture and Pit. They take on eclectic tendencies as ambitious as Tom Waits and Cold War Kids but add their swirling glam-rock to the equation.
Taken under the wing of Patrick Carney of The Black Keys and his record label Audio Eagle on their last album, Knoxvillians Sam Stratton, Ryan Schaefer and Chris Rusk are now moving on alone, releasing their latest, The Flux Outside, with Glassnote Records.
The Flux Outside drives hard nearly all the way to the end. Its pounding, electrified tumbling of distorted riffs and popping, flashy electro test the limits of song structure while still allowing hooks that sink into you to shine through the already brightly colored tracks.
A transcendental track, “Fireball,” starts of like a dream sequence from an 80’s movie and eventually shoves its way into a marching, triumphant fuck of a song. And give “Bad News, Strange Luck” some time to find itself and you’ll need a fresh pair of Hanes by the time it’s through.
The album unevenly slows its pace and trots through the finish-line with “Dim Chamber” and “Slow Cathedral” – both of which are strong tracks. These relatively calm, much-needed-breaths, however, would have been better suited in the middle of the Bangs’ pummeling. Around the 8th track, “Faint Obelisk Two” (another quality song), your synapses dry and become brittle from over-saturation and your ability to process the digital trampling of electro weakens.
A couple tracks, notably “Loosely Truthing” and “TV Tree”, leave something to be desired but, other than that, this album begs to be played loud, blowing out headphones and collapsing frontal lobes.
The Flux Outside is a rambunctious acid trip, without being psychedelic. It is erratic and vibrant, fast-paced and choppy, but ever-pleasing to the senses from start to finish.