Royal Republic – ‘Club Majesty’

By Andy Joice

We’re on the cusp of summer, and that means you need a perfect summer album. Something bright, bouncy and light-hearted that you can chuck on at a barbeque and bring the mood up. So look no further than Royal Republic’s latest release, ‘Club Majesty’.

Sweden’s greatest musical export since Abba, Royal Republic return with a more refined sound following on from 2016’s ‘Weekend Man’. They’re a difficult band to categorise into a single genre, taking cues from classic rock, 70’s funk and a whole heap of disco. It’s a combination that shouldn’t work. And yet, they’ve managed to pull it off with ease.

Take the single ‘Boomerang’, for example. Underneath Jonas Almén’s groovy bassline and Per Andreasson’s bluesy drumbeat, there’s a very Dr Feelgood guitar melody that keeps everything nailed together. There’s a sexiness that’s deeply ingrained within the track – partly due to the lyrical content, partly through the “ooo’s” scattered throughout the chorus. Vocalist Adam Grahn manages to convey an eagerness that’s borderline harassment, whilst maintaining a casual cheekiness that just feels good.

‘Club Majesty’ flows seamlessly from the outset, with opening track ‘Fireman & Dancer’ setting the tempo right from the beginning. You can tell by the 60 second mark that the record as a whole is going to be a joyous occasion. Coursing yet energetic, Royal Republic play heavily on their eccentric disco image and take left turns wherever they can, while still managing to throw in numerous harmonies that land perfectly.

There are some distinctly sultry songs, namely ‘Anna-Leigh’ and ‘Like A Lover’. While the former has a very upbeat, 80s new wave synth vibe, the latter is much slower, focusing on rhythm and big beats. It’s the sort of track that could very well be used in strip clubs, and feels particularly on brand for the band.

‘Flower Power Madness’ is full of jangly guitars and holds down a 60s disco bassline that forces you to bop your head or wiggle your hips. With a guitar riff from Hannes Irengård that’s on par with Prince and lyrical hooks to rival The Jackson 5, it’s a track that effortlessly forces you to move.

Perhaps the track that’ll work the best live is closer ‘Bulldog’. With the chorus “Bulldog” getting repeated literally dozens of times, it’s the sort of song that’ll pull a full audience up and singing along. It’s worth pointing out that there are few bands that could get away with the line “you take a dump I pick it up in a bag” without it sounding ridiculous – but it’s that tongue in cheek attitude that adds to the entertainment.

What is clear is that Royal Republic are unadulterated, grade A, full force fun, and ‘Club Majesty’ is no exception. Grahn oozes a cool charisma throughout, like a disco Gene Kelly. It’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an album that’s absolutely worth a listen – because by the time it’s done, you’ll realise that you can’t fight the disco.

ANDY JOICE

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