If you enjoy raw, visceral rock n’ roll look no further than Royal Chant. These chaps started off as a three-piece, then four, then back to three, then down to two consisting of singer/guitarist/drummer/songwriter Mark Spence and bassist/baritone guitarist/confidante James Carthew. Any way you look at it these guys have been hard at work. Since 2009 they have had seven releases, most recently they released A Day At The Wauchope Races EP, which is a bare-bones minimal approach consisting of no more than drums and guitars White Stripes Style.
The EP starts with “Ulysses,” which is a solid pop song. What matters here is the song-writing because there aren't many bells and whistles. “High Low” is an upbeat, energy-infused rock song. Spence has original, even occasionally comical lyrics. He sings, “Standing in the dark among the haunted books and…Oh My God! Is that DeNiro? throwing up our hands with the last drinks down our throats.” There was a lot of pent up energy on “Day At The Races” while “Nothing Doing” talks about his ambivalent feelings about the city he lives in.
“Unrecognizable Blues” was the best track on the EP. It felt the most raw and has some smoldering blues influence. It also contains the best scream I have heard since Maynard James Keenan from Tool. Listen for it right before the two-minute mark. It’s a scream that doesn't seem humanly possible. Best moment on the EP.
A Day At The Wauchope Races ends with a light acoustic number called “Daybreak.” I was a bit perplexed that they decided to go such a different direction on the last song.
There are a couple of good songs on this EP and I encourage you to take a listen. I wish the production was better but more often than not, the songs shined through.
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