Consistency is key in any art form – especially in music. For an artist to create good music on a regular basis is rare, even from the GOATs of the music scene. So, when a solo act or a band can hit you with a stream of songs that get your head bopping, lungs screaming and hips shaking, you better jump on the goddamn bandwagon.
Well, I was lucky enough to stumble across a few guys during my time at university whose discography boasts a stream of such bangers. Far from replicating or ripping off any of their inspirations, they have carved and nurtured their own path to musical success. If you’ve been following this site for a while, you might remember a piece I did on them a while back – that’s right:
The Royston Club.
This time round the boys have dropped their debut album and, to put it bluntly, it slaps harder than Will Smith at the Oscars.
A Little Disclaimer
Now, you might think this article could be a biased review, teeming with excessive positivity, and that’s fair. But as Jay-Z put it: men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
My Spotify streaming record for the last month should tell you just how good I think this new album is.
(Shoutout Metro with the new Spider-Man album too – unreal tape for an unreal film). But anyway…
Shaking Hips and Crashing Cars dropped on June 2nd and has amassed over 1.7 million streams already, with a helpful 500,000+ streams coming from Blisters, one of the singles which dropped before the tape.
Now, as a linguist and a writer myself, I can’t help but analyse the lyrics of different songs when I write about them, so this piece looks at the sum of the musical, creative and thematic genius behind the production of the album.
Getting Stuck In
From a personal, birds-eye view, this album is nothing short of top-tier, and for me, perfectly captures ‘the male experience’ of young adults in the 21st century. With a series of exceedingly relatable stories, told through a mix of scintillating riffs, daring drums and versatile vocals, The Royston Club outdid themselves with this one.
The album kicks off with The Deep End, which dives straight in with an addictively electric guitar riff that has come to be a signature of the Wrexham-based band. This song is perfect for those days when you feel like you can’t do anything right – like you know what you should be doing, but for some reason, all you can seem to do is sit back and watch as you waste another day. It’s one of my favourite tracks on the list, and considering I’m a serial procrastinator, I guess it would make sense.
Shallow Tragedy explores the inevitable pain of losing contact with someone. If you know how frustratingly futile it is when you’re told something like ‘it’s for the best’ or ‘it’ll get better’, this track manages to express that feeling in a sound unique to the band and with a belter of a hook. This is one for the rest of the neighbourhood to hear while you blast it in the shower – watch out Tom, I’m coming for your role as lead singer. Another banger.
OG fans were treated to some rerecords of ‘old’ classics, with Mariana, Believe it or Not, Cold Sweats and Cherophobe – which were all released as part of the previous 2 EPs – getting remastered for this album. Losing none of their originality or relatability – and gaining nothing but acoustic quality and refined vocals – their inclusion in the tape was a welcome one. Fan-favourite Mrs Narcissistic also made an unsurprising appearance, having done numbers upward of 4.3 million streams since its release back in 2020. Mrs Narcissistic, Mariana, Believe it or Not and Cold Sweats all seem to adopt an upbeat take on the ultimate arch-enemy of a lot of young males – females. From failed attempts at pulling (better luck next time boys), to the inexplicable love for someone that doesn’t seem to deserve it (head up kings), The Royston Club can make a tune out of any experience.
Cherophobe is a bit of a different one and has grown massively on me since I first heard it. From a melodic, bittersweet symphony of reminiscence to a belting ballad about the confusing grapple with both loss and happiness as an adolescent, this one is a rollercoaster and should definitely not be slept on. Seriously relatable: serious anthem.
I’m a Liar and 52 were heard first on this new tape and they were a couple of nice surprises. In what seems to be a theme of the album, I’m a Liar builds on the incessant negativity that comes with stumbling through life, procrastinating with what we think we should be doing and then feeling guilty about it – who can’t relate to that? That one felt personal.
In the same vein of relatability, The Royston Club chose to speak facts on 52 in regards to the way life flashes past us, like it was only yesterday you were just a boy, and now you’re feeling older than you ever have before. If ever you stop to think about how much of your life has passed so quickly and how scary that is, that terrifying feeling of self-awareness is what this track captures – mellifluously.
Ben, Dave, Tom and Sam slow it right down with A Tender Curiosity, while Missed the Boat (Jumped in the Sea) has quickly risen to another of my favourites from the band. Sweet-sounding strings and a drum-driven build-up preface an addictive hook that cement this one with banger status. Not only that, but the message is also a solid one, and a particular line stands out for me as some universal, humbling life advice – whether you’re on a high or low: without a trace, this too shall pass.
Just try not to sing this tune once you know the lyrics.
The Royston Club
That just about wraps it up with all the tracks on this album, and it’s fair to say I conducted a fair amount of research to review each one – just look at my top Spotify songs. I’ve had the album on repeat, and I doubt it will be going anywhere from my most streamed albums anytime soon.
The whole piece is an awesome medley of sick strings, relatable life experiences and very singable lyrics. If you’ve slept on the band until now, here is your wake-up call. Stop playing, load up your Spotify, and get those hips shaking – try to avoid the car-crashing though.
As you were.