Royal Blood
How Did We Get So Dark?


2.0
poor

Review

by danielcardoso CONTRIBUTOR (37 Reviews)
June 18th, 2017 | 125 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uninspired and massively far from their stellar debut, on this album Royal Blood begin resembling a one-trick pony more than they'd like to admit.

Following up a commercially successful debut release seems to often be an intriguing endeavor for artists: do you take risks and explore your sound further, or play things safe and try not to stray too far from your already-established style" This question definitely posed a serious challenge for Royal Blood - trying to cautiously add sprinkles of different elements to their music but ultimately reluctant to distance themselves from their tried-and-true formula, How Did We Get So Dark seems to not have a clear identity and is a mess of an album that sees this England duo in need of serious reflection at an early stage in their career.

The heights set by their energetic 2014 record are never quite reached this time around, and How Did We Get So Dark ends up being quite a bit of a chore to get through. The subtle organ touches and background vocals that have a presence here make for a partially glossier production, but it neither suits Royal Blood very well nor is enough to differentiate this from its predecessor in a significant manner. The album doesn't even feel like it's 34 minutes long at certain moments: overusing song ideas and running their appeal thin in little time, Royal Blood just can't seem to find enough resources to craft a fully encapsulating affair. The relentless riff attack almost feels redundant by its middle section, and after closing track "Sleep" ends, one can't help but feel it's all a bit too repetitive for it to feel like a fully fleshed out project.

Tracks such as "Don't Tell" and "She's Creeping" - atypically insipid and among this album's list of main offenders - are unprecedented mediocre territory for them, while most songs feel so devoid of character sometimes that there almost isn't enough to differentiate Royal Blood from just about any other derivative rock act currently operating. "Where Are You Now" benefits from its groovy verse but soon turns into a by-the-numbers rocker that feels pale and keeps its potential from flourishing. Fortunately, "Hook, Line and Sinker" picks things up rather nicely, and "Hole In Your Heart" is legitimately close to their debut's best offerings, driven by an interesting piano line and making good use of dynamics. But coming in at tracks number 8 and 9 respectively, it's a case of "too little, too late": How Did We Get So Dark feels rushed and uninspired, and comes across as a wrong turn in Royal Blood's path. A lack of vision and evident inconsistencies plague all their best efforts, meaning it may be a good time for Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher to rethink their approach.



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user ratings (222)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
DoofusWainwright CONTRIBUTOR (0.5)
The UK's premier rock outfit (it says here)...

StKiyo (3.5)
Hook, riff and sinker...

BlownSpeakers (2)
For the distracted listener that’s playing the album on shuffle, or perhaps, hearing snippets betw...

judgedeath2 (3)
How did we get so tame?...



Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


11562 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First write-up in some time and still a bit undecided about my rating lol.



Feedback and criticism appreciated as usual :]

AsleepInTheBack
June 18th 2017


5117 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Whole thing is spot on. Cracking review

SandwichBubble
June 18th 2017


4806 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Now all we need is a 1.0 and a 5.0 review for perfect symmetry

Digging: Friction - Friction

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


16404 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

First album had two songs that got them signed and maybe another half decent album cut. They wouldn't have got a record deal based on this.



Good write up though Dan

Digging: Cathal Coughlan - The Sky's Awful Blue

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


16404 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

I could write a 1/5 review for this

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


11562 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks guys :D

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


16404 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

Actually I couldn't be trusted to write a 1/5 rating review...I'd drop it to a 0.5

StickFeit
June 18th 2017


689 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Do it

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


13609 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Great review, agree almost completely with it.

Digging: Big Dumb Face - Where Is Duke Lion? He's Dead...

Wildcardbitchesss
June 18th 2017


191 Comments


Yeah do it.

Digging: Lovehoney - Feelin' No Way

GhandhiLion
June 18th 2017


1487 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

"Album Rating: 0.5" How do I do this??

Digging: Big Star - 3rd

Kopkiwi
June 18th 2017


35 Comments


Man I loved their debit album. I was looking forward to this release but based on all the reviews I am reading I think I might avoid it, don't want to tarnish that first album.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


19696 Comments


great review man! always good to see a daniel review.

one note: you repeated "quite" in the beginning of the second paragraph but that's pretty minor.

prob won't check this out..

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 18th 2017


25036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna check this because I bought it on a whim (assuming after that debut that this can't be that bad) and will probably spin it tonight. My expectations are zilch after reading its reception on this site, which hopefully will help its case for me because originally I had pretty high hopes.

Digging: Brand New - Science Fiction

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


11562 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Much appreciated Con :D



Sowing yeah unfortunately this is coming off as pretty far from their debut atm, hopefully you get more out of it than me tho.



Thanks everyone!

smgsmg9
June 18th 2017


1 Comments


It seems like they tried to dial down the riffs and bump up the songwriting. Which, in my opinion, works out great. Their third album should be much better though.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 18th 2017


25036 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was sooooooooo bland. Luckily it's pretty back loaded which brings up the score, but this was a disappointment in every way. Hook Line & Sinker and Hole in Your Heart are very strong tracks, and the opening song was decent, so I will probably be listening to them again but the rest were pretty scrap worthy.

ArtBox
June 18th 2017


228 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"unprecedented mediocre territory for them"



You Can Be So Cruel.

Blood Hands.

Careless.

Better Strangers.

40% of the debut wants a word with you, Daniel.



Solid review though, you always post great write-ups.

Wildcardbitchesss
June 19th 2017


191 Comments


Yeah but the rest of the songs on their debut were good enough to justify it. Everything here is balls

neekafat
June 19th 2017


6129 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Am I the only on here that enjoys this?



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