Palaye Royale – The Bastards (Album Review)

The 1970s marked the start of a subgenre called Fashion Art Rock, spanning from artists/bands such as Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, the great Pink Floyd, the beloved late David Bowie(, The Who, and more. The movement combined the Experimental Rock, Avant-garde, Psychedelic Rock, Folk, Jazz, and Classical genres together, thus creating a new subgenre. Still popular in today’s music, one band keeping Fashion Art Rock alive is Palaye Royale.

Self-identifying themselves under the title of Fashion Art Rock, this American-Canadian band was originally formed by Remington Leith (vocals), Sebastian Danzig (guitar, organ), and Emerson Barrett (drums), all of which are brothers. Since then, Bassist Daniel Curcio, formerly of Beware of Darkness, and Guitarist Andrew Martin has rounded out the group. 

Begun while the core were still teenagers, they would change their name in 2011 from Kropp Circle, soon going on to become the first unsigned band to win MTV’s Musical March Madness Awards, beating the popular Linkin Park. With their single “Get Higher” hitting #27 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts and their impressive showing at 2018’s Rock Sound Awards, it seemed that Palaye Royale was poised to burn up the charts.

Now they are ready for the next step in their career with the release of their new album The Bastards, which is set to arrive on Friday, May 29, 2020, thanks to Sumerian Records. Compared to their previous LP, 2018’s Boom Boom Room (Side B), it is just as darkly dramatic, honest, and charismatic. That in mind, let’s us take a closer look at this new collection. 

Beginning with the more upbeat “Little Bastards,” Palaye Royale launches into relatable lyrics such as “Sometimes I’ve been losing my mind, running out of faith“—something that speaks to almost everyone these days. Additionally, there are very catchy vocal melodies that repeat throughout the song, allowing even first-time listeners to find themselves singing along. This is while other lyrics are much more explicit and brutal, laying the groundwork for the rest of The Bastards.

Meanwhile, songs like “Anxiety” and “Black Sheep” speak with even more truth, plus get angrier and even more rebellious. This is particularly the case on “Anxiety,” as Leith’s screams are impassioned. Then, “Tonight is The Night I Die,” the theme song for the recent Paradise City series trailer, is darkly melodic with sinister piano, electronic sounds in the background,  plus some eerie voices. This is while there are cuts on the album that are just as chilling and dramatic include “Nightmare (Coming Down)” and “Doom (Empty).”

However, The Bastards is not all angry and dark as the title would imply. In fact, songs like “Lonely” and “Redeemer” take a bit of a softer tone. The slightly more depressing of the two, “Lonely” offers lines like, “So sick and tired of being alone / so long, farewell / I’m on my own.” Here, Leith displays a lack of hope in ever finding the love that could save his life. Blaming himself, he now has no choice but to lie in the bed he made. Then “Redeemer”features beautifully overlaid piano and violins, but also has more depressing and hopelessness surrounding the words. 

Overall, Palaye Royale’s song themes deal with depression, violence, substance abuse, and teenage angst toward their parents. That said, The Bastards is a reflection of the world that The Kropp Brothers have created for themselves. Emotional and striking, The Bastards is guaranteed to be their biggest release to date! For this, Cryptic Rock gives the album 5 out of 5 stars.

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