The self-labeled “fashion-art rock” band Palaye Royale are new to mainstream success, and handling such after their critically acclaimed 2016 debut, ‘Boom Boom Room (Side A)’ would be difficult. This is increased tenfold as the trio – made up with vocalist Remington Leith, guitarist Sebastian Danzig, and drummer Emerson Barrett – have had a high-publicity 2018. From playing the final run of Warped Tour around America, to embarking on a sold-out world tour, Palaye Royale are taking over the world. With the release of their second album ‘Boom Boom Room (Side B)’, the Toronto band are proving that 2018 is indeed their year.
Keeping in tune with the energetic yet heavy blend of rock and roll, glam rock and indie, the album’s opening track “Death Dance” instantly brings a connection with elements drawn from the pop-punk section of the rock genre. This is no surprise; the band have been compared to previous punk acts such as My Chemical Romance due to their style and have shown praise for pop-punk acts old and new, so the influence evidently has its roots in what has inspired the band from their very beginnings in 2008. “Death Dance” is a classic case of an upbeat tune with a far from happy message in its lyrics. Leith sings about masking thoughts and feelings, and changing himself to fit the world around him. He comments on being unsatisfied in an age where “sex and horror are gods” and “where all our bodies are flawed”, seeking to change to live with freedom and acceptance for all. The fear and pain in these thoughts, true or otherwise, is conveyed in such a layered way as his vocals are as rough and raw as the emotions in the words he sings out.
Praise to Leith’s vocal versatility, when he can stand on that brink between clean and unclean vocals throughout the chorus; yet easily transition to smooth it out throughout the bridge of this tune. This is a continuing pattern throughout the album, and it is a testament to Leith’s abilities as the lead singer of Palaye Royale.
The album’s leading single “You’ll Be Fine” opens with a theatrical feel that lasts throughout the track’s first verse before transitioning back into the usual rock mix fans know and love. Theatricality works hand-in-hand with what Palaye Royale give the masses.
Special praise to the use of percussion throughout “You’ll Be Fine”, so praises to drummer Barrett for keeping up with the up-and-down beat of the song. Percussion is what keeps a song moving steady; keeping such a beat and pattern throughout a song such as this is a talent.
One of the more tragic tales on the album is the deathly themed “Hospital Beds”. A fan favourite thus far, it opens with a softer piano-led introduction, setting the tone of death and departure for the listener. The lyrics tell a story from the perspective of an individual who has passed on to the afterlife, watching another person who is nearing the end of her life, and speaks of living for the moment. Leith sings a request of “leave the living for today, and dying for tomorrow”, accompanied by a background sound of the collision of two music worlds.
Differing once more from their usual sound, Palaye Royale combine a sense of classical elements with their heavy rock style. The piano and electric guitar is a pairing made in rock heaven and further identifies the band as a twist in the genre. “Hospital Beds” is the band’s twist on a ballad, it seems, and they make the heavy emotion work with the heavy sound they produce.
Overall, the rock group’s sophomore studio album continues seamlessly from its ‘Side A’ predecessor, and amplifies the sound that Palaye Royale have now spent an entire decade perfecting, and are still honing and improving as time passes.
Prepare for the Final Boom.
Boom Boom Room (Side B) is out now via Sumerian Records.