No one loves goodies in the mail more than this guy, so imagine my surprise when I received Chasing the Sun, the latest from ROYAL BLISS about a week ago. This new one, album number eight, comes out on February 18 via Air Castle Records and after a solid week of listens it’s definitely a good one. There’s a little something for everyone here, within reason. Extreme and death metalheads, this is not your thing, sorry. It’s just real simple, honest rock and roll that carries years of ups and downs for a group that has at times been dubbed the “Unluckiest Band in Rock”. Near-paralytic injuries, facial reconstructions, failed recording sessions, etc. would have some folks giving up and thinking the Rock Gods had it in for them. Not ROYAL BLISS. If anything they appear to be even stronger.
First let’s get into my favorite track, “Alive to See” since that’s the one on REPEAT as I write this. Riffs and attitude are what make this one a standout. The whole record has it, but on this song it really comes to the surface and the solo has that bluesy-rock feel that makes you say, “Oh yeah…” First single “Cry Sister” is already doing well at radio nationwide and with good reason. It’s one of the album’s best, for sure. Opener “Welcome” has a rough and tumble guitar sound that will have your attention right away. If it doesn’t, chances are you don’t have a pulse. Another one that really stood out is “Turn Me On” because in the beginning it’s got a real dark tone blended with pop sensibilities and then when you least expect it, the song jumps up and bites you on the ass!
One of the cool things about this band is their ability to slow things down, but keep it genuine and honest, not to make it all saccharine for the sake of radio play. Although, truth be told, I think “Dreamer” will be an absolute smash if and when it is released as a radio single. It’s such a great song it would be a crime not to. “Drink My Stupid Away” features a pained vocal from Neal Middleton and if I’m correct it is the addict’s cry for help. It is raw and unfettered and it hits hard, which is what a good song is supposed to do. The kick drum and a dirty boogie riff usher in “It Haunts Me” with a real Southern rock swagger and the ¾ beat of “Impossible” combined with a soaring verse/chorus structure make for yet another winner.
The album ends with “Home” a number that I think any band on the road can relate to, or anyone whose work takes them away from their loved ones for an extended period of time. It is utterly elegant in its simplicity and you’d be hard-pressed not to feel a stirring of emotion during, and probably for a while after. Yep, I played the hell out of this one, too. There really isn’t a bad song in the bunch, and I think that ROYAL BLISS have made themselves a record to be proud of. If you’re looking for an album tailor-made for long drives alone or with someone special, then Chasing the Sun is for you.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Home”, “Alive to See”, “Dreamer”, “Turn Me On”, “Cry Sister”, “Turn Me On”