Well I’d be remiss to gloss over Royal Headache’s rise to prominence. Their last album came our way in 2011 via Aussie barometer R.I.P. Society. They’ve since gained prominence through US indie What’s Your Rupture? and with their follow-up they crank down some of the frantic energy that drove their eponymous breakthrough. But that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of heat coming off of High. It’s glossier and more restrained, if only in the production and perhaps the strain on Shogun’s vocal chords. The album still taps into that wellspring of garage-soul that’s equal parts lyrical testifying and hand shred strums. When Royal Headache hit, they hit like a defibrillator, a shock to the system that’s well deserved and well welcomed. The moments when they tend toward slower tempos could be goosed a bit with some simmer, some sense of Sam Cook gone garage vitality, but it here it sometimes lands flat. So it’s the burners that still fuel their fire. But if they begin to find the balance between burn and smolder they’ll get it right. For now High has some great moments when the band lights out for those sweaty moments under the stage lights.
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