Royal Coda
To Only a Few at First


4.5
superb

Review

by Brandon Scott EMERITUS
August 12th, 2022 | 245 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Royal Coda is not planning on becoming just a memory anytime soon....

When Royal Coda announced in 2019 that Dance Gavin Dance and swancore progenitor Will Swan was joining their ranks, it caused reverberations that echoed throughout the entirety of the post-hardcore community. As a quasi-reunion of DGD’s Happiness line-up, fans were excited to see these two dynamos (Kurt and Will) together again. With him, in addition to Royal Coda’s founder, guitar prodigy, and erstwhile Stolas/Sianvar member Sergio Medina and ex-A Lot Like Birds drummer Joseph Arrington, Royal Coda’s pedigree almost guaranteed whatever they would put out next would be an instant classic. And yet, Compassion wasn’t. While certainly not a poor effort, it lacked the explosiveness you would expect from a line-up that contained roughly 65% of all the talent in the progressive post-hardcore scene.

Thankfully their newest record, To Only A Few At First lives up to the potential of the members involved. Perhaps Compassion had just suffered from too short a gestational period; sometimes things don’t gel immediately. Though all these members had worked together previously in different permutations - Kurt and Will with DGD, Will and Sergio in Sianvar, Joseph and Kurt in A Lot Like Birds, etc… - they still had to find out what it meant for THIS specific line-up to be working in synchronicity. Luckily, To Only A Few At First sees the members walking in stride, resulting material is some of the best music of their respective careers.

Specifically, Kurt Travis is on fire here. His versatility and utility has always been something that’s flown a bit under the radar, but on To Only A Few At First it’s rather blatant how the diversity in his delivery can further elevate already impressive outlines of a song. “We Slowly Lose Hope Things To Come” for the most part, features his powerful post-hardcore drawl, but towards the end of the track he opts for an R&B inspired flow that pairs wonderfully with Will and Sergio’s psychedelic hardcore riffage. He is able to croon (“Insatiate, The Senses”), soar (“To Only A Few At First”) and roar (“Where The Air Seemed to Cease”) but it is always at the service of the song.

Of course, it would be impossible to forgo mentioning the chemistry between Will and Sergio. Though Sianvar was already an impressive testament to their compatibility, To Only A Few At First is arguably a better showcase of just how well these two work together. They are both well versed in a plethora of genres - the main influences here being progressive rock and funk - and the way they bridge together their influences creates a fusion style specific to Royal Coda. “One Last Time, Like Hypothermia” is both groovy and fun, but introspective with a prog rock bridge, and “Screen Time Overload” is classic swancore through and through with flitting guitar licks and clean emo-inspired passages.

The word I keep coming back to when I think of this record as whole, is chemistry. To Only A Few At First is album that where each member plays off eachother’s strengths: Will’s playing intertwines beautifully with Sergio’s but also allows for Joseph to be creative with his kit. On “Too Only A Few At First” bassist Steffen Gotsch faithfully follows the map scrawled out by the guitars, but when appropriate, takes excursions of his own to flesh out the landscape. This is how a band should operate, and that is why Only A Few At First is an easy highlight in the careers of all those involved.



Recent reviews by this author
Trha Vat Gëlénva!!!Sadness kiss in october (2017)
Old Nick Ghost O'ClockBloody Keep Bloody Keep
Portal AvowGoodbye World At Death's Door
user ratings (153)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Emeritus
August 12th 2022


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I will probably be deleting this soon so, get it while it's hot.

vult
August 12th 2022


2403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haven’t heard a lick of this yet and know it’s better than new DGd

Purpl3Spartan
August 12th 2022


8791 Comments


Pos

Pikazilla
August 12th 2022


30488 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

haven't heard this but I hate kurt era dgd so I'll probably hate this as well

TheSpirit
Emeritus
August 12th 2022


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i don't think it sounds so much like kurt-era dgd that you would dislike it outright

Pikazilla
August 12th 2022


30488 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

okay, will give it a whirl then



pos'd the rev btw

pjquinones747
August 12th 2022


4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn, just three tracks in and already I love this far more than the first or second LP.

Calc
August 12th 2022


17384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

the utter hate towards the new DGD is going to inflate people's opinions of this a few notches me thinks. it's def better than the first album but it needs more listens I feel like I blinked and it was over.

SteakByrnes
August 12th 2022


30138 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I will probably be deleting this soon so, get it while it's hot."



bitch why it's a good review and this deserves it

TheSpirit
Emeritus
August 12th 2022


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

thanks for the poses ya'll





yeah i agree, i think peoples opinions of new DGD will definitely color how they see this, but i also think that it can still stand on its own.



i don't really feel the same way in the blink and it's over sense, it felt like a pretty substantial listen (to me at least)

TheSpirit
Emeritus
August 12th 2022


30304 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@steak - obligations to another site! but we will see

SteakByrnes
August 12th 2022


30138 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fair lol



also gonna [2] the fact that this stands on its own without new dgd being stinky lol, I've thought Royal Coda was the better band since inception

Calc
August 12th 2022


17384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

for sure the band and this album can stand on its own but the timing is such where it's really not going to this time. the second comment on this review was comparing the two bands already. it's not a bad thing, just a thing. I'm going to give this a better listen after new Hudson Mohawke is over

Jadari
August 12th 2022


78 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really enjoyed this, loved the subtle electronics/synths(I think? For lack of better terms I guess) sprinkled throughout the tracks, like at the end of Malfunctioning Parts and the variety with which Kurt utilizes his vocals as you mentioned.

decisions
August 12th 2022


1110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wow first track is amazing. Last album ruled it just felt a little too short. Can’t wait to listen to the rest of this!



This band has always been DGD with a better vocalist and drummer

Tundra
August 12th 2022


9865 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh this is the guy on Happiness and self-titled cool, Kurt killing it on here

onionbubs
August 12th 2022


21571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album absolutely slaps. best kurt since everything is beautiful

JayEnder
August 12th 2022


20467 Comments


Opener rules

Ebola
August 12th 2022


4547 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yo this first song is great

SpideryMan
August 12th 2022


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

emo funk reigns supreme.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy