Review Summary: Royal Republic Pt. 2: This Time With Less Riffs
Royal Republic is back. Their debut “We Are The Royal” was filled with good riffs, fun, and energetic garage rock worth more than a few spins in your CD player. Adam Grahn and company still keep your head nodding and foot tapping throughout “Save The Nation” with the huge choruses and cheesy sing-a-long lyrics, but it’s not quite the same this time around. Make no mistake, Royal Republic have definitely stuck to their trademark sound on “Save The Nation”, just with a few minor alterations.
The most notable of these changes is that “Save The Nation” is considerably less hard-hitting than Royal Republic’s debut. The riffs aren’t quite as heavy, the production isn’t quite as huge, and the songs aren’t quite as fast they were on “We Are The Royal”. They’ve swapped out some of the driving rhythms for more bouncy and danceable beats heard in songs such as “Be My Baby”, “Addictive”, and “Let Your Hair Down”. Overall, it sounds as if Royal Republic has been turned down a few notches. But that’s not to say that all of the tracks on “Save The Nation” are in the same vein. Hooks and licks from “We Are The Royal” are still present on this record, just in a lesser quantity.
The title track sets the album off in a very similar way to “We Are The Royal”, on a fast and pounding note. This energy persists throughout the first six tracks of the album as it works its way through two more highlights in “You Ain’t Nobody (Till Somebody Hates You)” and “Make Love Not War”. The next track “Addictive” is monotonous, boring, and one of the worst songs on the album. Fortunately the raw energy and excellent guitar work of “Molotov” makes up for it. The fantastic riff and chorus (complete with a Popeye reference) of “Sailing Man” and the infectious energy of “Let Your Hair Down” make for two more very solid album highlights. “Revolution” and “Vicious” are pretty standard Royal Republic fare, not bringing the album down but not bringing it to another level. Second to last track “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” is most likely the worst song Royal Republic has ever written (aside from the groovy bass jam). It features cringe-worthy lyrics and a guitar tone that simply put, just doesn’t fit. Luckily, the mood is rapidly shifted with the untitled final track. It’s sure to come as a surprise to any listener that Royal Republic wrote a hardcore song, let alone a good one. The albums ends with a hearty “F**k yeah!” as Adam Grahn screams “This means war!” at the top of his lungs.
Overall, “Save The Nation” is just a small step back for the band. They can still produce incredibly catchy tunes with some great riffs and playful lyrics; it’s all just a little quieter this time around. In fact this album would be on par with “We Are The Royal” if it wasn’t for tracks like “Addictive”, “Punch Drunk Love”, and “I Don’t Wanna Go Out” that drag it down. “Save The Nation” is another overall solid release from an incredibly fun band that deserves at least a few listens. It’s fun, I promise.