Throughout the last decade we have witnessed, live and in real time, the consolidation of the bond that unites and homologates the British Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher as one of the most solid and firm duos in current alternative rock. If we leave aside certain episodes of live arrogance that ended up going viral with the speed of wildfire (“Who likes rock music? Nine people. Brilliant.”, Kerr mentioned under the restrained reception of his concert on Radio 1 Big Weekend ), the return of Royal Blood con “Back to the Water Below” (Warner, 23) proves to us to be a firm reflection of that synchrony, communion and understanding that its members profess, making use of an emotional charge exposed in its fleeting half hour that goes beyond the simple and explosive succession of energetic peaches and fierce
And ‘back to basics’ very personal and rooted, with a production in which he has dispensed with big names among his credits in favor of self-management carried out from his studio in Brighton. An opportunity that has allowed them not only to build a sound without pretensions and with four resources counted, but also to be more honest than ever with each other. Because if something has this “Back to the Water Below” That it has not already been given to us in any of their three previous albums is a notable dose of truth and humanism.
Last 2019 was a point of no return for Kerr, who announced with great fanfare the beginning of his sobriety, and somehow (from the title of the album itself, to the maturity expressed in his new lyrics) he seems to be throwing us certain winks to that anguishing and tempting place that lives in the mind of anyone who decides to face an act of resistance and perseverance as praiseworthy as the one mentioned (“Pining for pretty potions, down those holes you dug”sings at the beginning of “Mountains At Midnight”, in what could well be a wonderful simile about his personal struggle). With haste and without hesitation, the duo squeezes every last drop of their personal atonement through tracks full of feeling in which they find in devastation and catharsis the best way to not leave anything inside (“Don’t mind the bruises”Kerr roars between heavy guitar riffs in “Shiner in the Dark”).
This brave vision of the game, declared by the duo in their speech, will also go hand in hand with some punctual and respectable attempts at experimentalism, ready to break with the limited and formulable sanbenito of their sound. Something that they began to do openly in “Typhoons” (21) with their respective opening towards more electronic arrangements and that now continue hand in hand with an expansive proposal in their sights in which we soon see Kerr and Thatcher playing with the most arid psychedelia (“Pull Me Through”) as with the more McCartnian seventies (“There Goes My Cool”). Without a doubt, a bravery on his part that shows us that Royal Blood They are more than just another hard-hitting, over-the-top rock band.
Although on this occasion their immediate hits are scarcer than in previous releases, somehow the talent of Kerr and Thatcher is there, evident in each of those effective lightning bolts that are thrown in our faces with the wisdom of keeping us in mind. the boat from its first roll. A most appropriate redemption in the face of any hint of media cancellation that reminds us of the not inconsiderable potential of this band.