Eponymous Album reviews.
Release Date: 04.13.99
Record label: velvel
Do the Devil
by: bill aicher
Think cars with fins. Think white t-shirts and greased back hair. Think good ol' rock n' roll. Are you thinking all of that now? Well if you are you can assign it this name - The Amazing Royal Crowns. These guys are rock n' roll - the way elvis meant for it to be before all of that Blue Hawaii crap. This is "Hound Dog" style. "King" Kendall describes their sound as "Greasy rock 'n' roll, punk rock, and rockabilly."
If you want a more recent band to compare their style to, try Stray Cats - only a little tougher. The music has a driving force behind it, and if you are in the mood to dance, you are gonna sweat to this one. The CD has fourteen tracks, but is only just over a half hour long. Each song goes by quickly, keeping with the style of the album. If any of the songs were much longer, they would be too long. Any shorter and they would be too short. Maybe they should have just tossed on more tracks, but who am I to complain?
This Providence, Rhode Island, quartet is not retro. Their style, though it is rockabilly, incorporates some punk influences as well. When listening to the album one can tell the band is not trying to be "hip." Instead, they are just trying to have fun. Their music shows they enjoy what they are doing, and what they are doing is making music. Mighty Mighty Bosstones lead singer, Dicky Barrett, has said "They're everything I ever liked about rock 'n' roll, yet like nothing that's ever been before." Dicky is right.
"King" Kendall's voice fits the musical style perfectly. It's deep sound, with rough edging is perfect for this type of music - very reminiscent of early Elvis at times. Jack "The Swinger" Hanlon offers up an excellent backbone of bass, including some superb solo work. Johnny "The Colonel" Maguire delivers riffs that race through the music, keeping up the drive. He too, has some excellent rockabilly solo work. Lest we forget, Judd Williams is on drums. If it were not for his drum work, with the high-hat rides, cymbal hits, and toe-tapping beats - the music would lose some of its flair.
I have one qualm about this album, and that is its lack of production. The album was recorded in two days with no overdubbing whatsoever. This was all at the request of the band, who wanted to keep the spirit of rockabilly and the live sound associated with it. While this is a noble idea, I think a little more production would have helped a bit, as some of the highs and lows are lost within the vocals, and vice versa. This idea may have worked a little better on a follow-up album or maxi-cd, not on their first major label release. I know, this is not a HUGE deal, but it affects the album quality nonetheless.
If you are in the mood for some good ol' rock 'n' roll, check out this album. People love roots, and this album digs down into the roots of where today's music came from, without leaving the generation behind.