The newest release by the Knoxville-based Royal Bangs, Let It Beep, is a like an entire pack of gummy bears melted together on a hot day: strange, but colorful and delicious.
Royal Bangs combine bouncy indie rock and layers of dancing electronics with a garage rock mentality for a sound that falls somewhere between Radiohead and Electric Six. The band often sounds as if they are driving without brakes, full speed ahead without a care in the world and no intention to stop.
This pure rock and roll attitude dominates the first couple of tracks. The opener “War Bells” is pretty straight forward, but sets up the urgent and explosive “Poison Control” nicely.
It's not long before Let It Beep starts to warp expectations. “My Car is Haunted” and “Brainbow” put the jagged, angular electronics front and center and up the funkiness quotient 50 percent.
The band is kind enough to give the listener two short interlude tracks to regroup before the sonic assault that is “Shit Xmas.”
The album barrels ahead and finishes strong. “1993” sounds like a hyper rock version of circus organ chase music. If there's one disappointment on the album, it's the surprising lack of keytar on “Little Prince of Keytar.”
Let It Beep is all over the place and there aren't many melodies that you'll be humming tomorrow, but it's sure a hell of a lot of fun to listen to.
Royal Bangs will be playing with label mates Drummer at Local 506 in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $10.
Earlier: Album Review: Drummer - Feel Good Together