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December 2020 / January 2021
Album review

Palaye Royale - The Bastards

Subtlety is the only thing that appears to have been left out.
Label: Sumerian
Released: 10th July 2020
Rating: ★★★
Palaye Royale - The Bastards
Published: 4:41 pm, July 29, 2020Words: Jamie MacMillan.

A band almost designed to ruffle feathers, from their earliest days of describing themselves as 'fashion-rock', through a string of controversies that was never far behind the Las Vegas group. Equally scorned and adored, they landed with a suitable bang on debut 'Boom Boom Room'. There, they sung at one point of something not feeling quite right. Here, something is obviously a bit wrong too.

With track names ranging from 'Anxiety', 'Fucking With My Head' to 'Masochist' and 'Doom (Empty)', you know what you're going to get. And with a stylistic approach that seems to be largely based around throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, subtlety is the only thing that appears to have been left out. There are interesting moments, tracks like early single 'Lonely' giving a hint of what Palaye Royale could achieve if they concentrated on not imitating other bands who are, frankly, better than them. 'Massacre, The New American Dream' sounding for all the world like a pale version of MCR that isn't needed because the real thing is back, while 'Nightmares' provides further evidence that nobody should try to sing like Ozzy unless they are, in fact, Ozzy.

The shame of 'The Bastards' is that it covers worthy topics, from mental health through substance abuse to gun violence. But Palaye Royale's complete aversion to metaphor makes for an oppressive and exhausting listen, one where the messages get lost within. With a much angrier and more ferocious sound behind them now, it remains to be seen what their existing fanbase make of it. Dangerous territory for a band who still seem to be searching for themselves.

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