Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Music: Royal Wood - The Burning Bright

“Give me your hands remember that enemies were once friends
You can find me right here
Raising up the white flag waiting for the war to end”

Now I’m no expert on deciphering lyrics and understanding what artists are trying to portray in their music, but in my opinion these lyrics from seem to sum up this record nicely. Twelve songs filled with heartbreak, loss, love, and the end of a relationship, but trying to accept that things didn't work out and move on with no hard feelings. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

The Burning Bright was written mostly in Ireland (but recorded between Toronto and Los Angeles) where Royal spent five weeks upon the end of his marriage. You would think these songs would all be downers about heart break right? Well, yes and no. While he sure doesn't beat around the bush in regards to his breakup, he keeps the vibe positive with some songs more aimed at reflection rather than regret.  Now, the heartache is still evident, but not overwhelming and it is by no means a depressing album.

Even when reading the lyrics alone in songs like The Light of Dawn with lines like: “with endless words and reasons why, the love between us was a lie”, the catchy rhythm of bongos and hand clapping backing the fast strumming acoustic guitar and catchy melody keep it from being a downer.

The first single Forever and Ever was co-written with singer-songwriter Simon Wilcox, it has a more upbeat tempo with hand clapping added to the rhythm in the chorus. It is sure to have you tapping your foot keeping the beat. Some may say this is a bit misleading as a lead out single as it’s not consistent with the sound of the remainder of the album, but I still find it fits in nicely. Besides, who set out these rules that all songs need to blend perfectly? It seems to work well in the mix, particularly having it later in the album as the ninth track, after a bunch of deep meaningful slower songs; it’s nice to raise the tempo before the final stretch to the finish line.

Royal has received a great deal of praise and accomplished a lot in the past decade, (including a handful of Juno nominations) The Burning Bright seems destined to add to these accomplishments. While it has plenty of horns, banjos, bongos, etc., none of it is too overpowering leaving Royal’s strong voice, acoustic guitar and deep meaningful lyrics up front and center.  

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