By Robin Mumford Of The Indie Plug
‘Swinging 60s’ produced with modern sounds, Theatre Royal’s newest album is a time capsule of brilliance that would fit perfectly into any era of music.
There was a time in British history where Barbie dolls rivalled that of the Troll Dolls, and numbers on a telephone had to be dialled by rotating the dial clockwise, films at the cinema were technicolour, Beatles were topping vinyl charts and rock and roll well and truly arrived in the country. The ‘swinging 60s’ were synonymous to freedom of expression, good quality of life, and amazing music; Theatre Royal have brought back memories of that period with their most recent album release, ‘Portrait’.
In the past, Theatre Royal have received praise from the likes of Radio X and Louder Than War, with good reason too, the album seems to effortlessly move between periods of British History, and whilst some songs such as ‘Callow’ remind me of the very successful Coral of recent times, tunes like ‘Kasher’ and ‘Together We’re Alone’ has connections to much older bands such as The Byrds and other well known 60s bands. Whilst this album doesn’t have a clear structure to it that tells a story from start to finish, the way its influences draw from all sorts of periods is refreshing and the length of songs keeps me wanting to listen again. Short but sweet from song to song, the album as a whole is addictive and a perfect soundtrack for any scenario.
The melodic 4-piece from Medway have released an album worthy of high credit, not only from current fans, but those who are in search for something new, something harmonious and gorgeous. Slow and steady, ‘Portraits’ is a showcase of how mellifluous music can be in a modern scene where catchy choruses and rugged guitar riffs seem to take charge above all.
For me, it is ‘TV Blind’ that takes the top spot in this album, its upbeat and one of the faster paced numbers on the craft. “You’re counting the days down to nothing” is a line that speaks to me the most and is all the more important given the situation a lot of people are in during lockdown and the global pandemic. Another highlight on this album is ‘Lift Our Heads’ which explores the idea of soul searching and delves into staying positive. Both of these songs are beautifully brewed and exceptionally meaningful, and whilst they seem light-hearted on the surface, a lot of lessons are taught through the lyrics.
All in all, this is a great release, and because of its wide range of influences that transport your ears through Britain’s cultural history from the 60s all the way up to recent memory, it’s a release that can be listened to by all sorts of different music fans. This album has something for everybody. *** 1/2