Release Date: Jun 8, 2004
Record label: Sanctuary
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
On Little Heart's Ease, their third album and first for Rough Trade, Royal City continues in the direction of Alone at the Microphone but opts for a fuller, cleaner, more polished sound. At times, more polished means too polished: occasionally, Aaron Riches' vocals sound a little airless, and the album doesn't feature as much unique instrumentation as Alone at the Microphone did. However, Little Heart's Ease does deliver more of the dark but oddly jaunty songwriting that made Royal City's previous album noteworthy: Riches can still deliver lyrics like "let my tongue rot in my mouth" as sweetly as a lullaby.
Royal City hit a critical nerve with 2001's Alone at the Microphone, a fairly dark album that mixed bluegrass/country songs, lo-fi Drag City-style folk, and sunny pop into a distracting patchwork. Little Heart's Ease, their new album, is a more solid outing, focusing on the pop sensibilities of Microphone's more upbeat numbers, without the at-times annoying candy-coated choruses. Gone also, thankfully, is singer/songwriter Aaron Riches' lyrical obsession with bodily fluids – no more songs about blood, feces, or semen.