Maybe it’s an indictment on the current music scene that it’s the bands that don’t aim to be ‘different’ that end up the ones who ARE actually different. Certainly, Chatham four-piece THEATRE ROYAL fit that bill. No frills, no gimmicks, no outrageous statements of intent – just a quiet, unassuming confidence and a brilliant blend of indie and pop music that will appeal equally to daytime as well as evening national radio listeners. They are one of a select few bands that could straddle both the ‘Indie Club’ scene and more mainstream markets without compromising their musical integrity.
LOUD HORIZON has been championing the cause of THEATRE ROYAL for several months now and this EP could just be the release to generate the interest and attention the band deserve. It follows quickly on the heels of their debut album ‘from rubble rises…’ and includes one track from the long player as well as three new songs.
Title track ‘Spit And A Dream’ is lifted from the album. It is one of the most infectious songs you are likely to hear this year and is guaranteed to bury itself in your subconscious! In a nice way, of course! As with all their songs, vocalist Oliver Burgess has the knack of sounding so relaxed in his delivery with some wonderful harmonies provided by guitarist Robbie. It’s a bouncy little song with a sort of ‘galloping’ refrain and catchy guitar riffs. But then, why am I saying this? Have a listen via the Soundcloud link above and tell me I’m wrong…!
‘Sit Me Under …’ evokes a similar euphoric feeling, its breezy, melodic tune racing across the track with the rhythm of a steam train chugging through rustic England. Again, THEATRE ROYAL get the balance absolutely right; the sound is tight and clear – totally uncluttered – and incorporates a nice and unpretentious little guitar solo.
‘I’m The One,’ has a distinct Sixties feel about it. A little bit ‘The Searchers’ mixed with some of the more psychedelic sensibilities of that era, the guitars are more ‘jangly’ in nature with the vocals and harmonies generally in a higher range. At only one minute forty-seven seconds in length, it’s as if the band are seeking to reflect the total mood of that time, but know the dangers of focussing too much on the past.
Closing track ‘Sycamore’ is the slow one of the four. In essence, it has more of a bluesy feel to it – but at the same time maintains a quite moody and dramatic sound. The mid-song guitar breakdown is accompanied by waves of understated feedback and in a departure from the ‘norm’ (and possibly an indication of the band’s future development?) the song breaks into more of a ‘wall of sound,’ for a minute or so. Nice.
(Back in the day, Pete Burns and his ‘Dead or Alive’ band sang “ You spin me right round baby right round like a record, baby….” etc. THEATRE ROYAL sing “Spin me, turn me around, twisting like a sycamore seed to the ground.” Therein, my friends lies the difference between ‘disposable pop,’ and ‘intelligent pop.’)
Once again, LOUD HORIZON has no qualms about recommending THATRE ROYAL for further listening. (Indeed the interview that I did with the band for Artrocker Magazine has been reproduced within the ‘Horizon Into View’ page on this site, where you can also stream a couple of tracks from the album. I have also added the album review that was originally published earlier this year in LOUD HORIZON’S previous format. You can read it within the Indie Albums category.)
(Released through The Preservation Society Presents on 25th October 2010)