The album begins with the title track, immediately announcing an appropriate development from Royal Blood’s self-titled first album. The duo have moved on from solely relying on raw bass and drums and fulfill this unique sound - they’ve managed to flesh it out and add a greater depth to their songs. It is clear that How Did We Get So Dark? is a step up from their earlier work production-wise, having a cleaner sound and letting the honesty music speak for itself. The choruses are big, with sing-along backing vocals we missed out on in the first album.
Lyrically, Mike Kerr is quite bleak. Yet there’s a burning anger and ferocity in both his vocals and the musical content. This energy drives the whole album and ensures you won’t get bored. What I’ve always loved about the duo is that they have made hard rock accessible and incredibly catchy. They give us time to relish the irresistibly powerful riffs Kerr delivers in tracks like ‘Lights Out’ without overdoing it. ‘Where Are You Now’ is punchy and gets to the point: they are well aware not every song needs a musical bridge.
When Royal Blood played Reading and Leeds in 2015, they gave us a hint of the upcoming album. This was in the form of ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’, which is a stand out track. Do yourself a favour and just listen to it.
Royal Blood have managed to create their own sound that gives us nothing to compare them to, save their earlier work. This year’s release was always going to be a strong album, but it doesn't stand up to their 2014 album. Every track on that album felt like a single – How Did We Get So Dark? just isn’t as impressive. It also felt a little stale: it is very similar to what we’ve already heard. Consequently, by the end of the album I was kind of zoning out because it is all very same-y. Nonetheless, the sameness is very enjoyable.
Either way, if you managed to get tickets at the Metro in the few minutes they were on sale, I’m jealous.
Best Tracks: ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’; ‘She’s Creeping’’ ‘Where Are You Now?’
Worst Tracks: There aren’t any bad songs, but ‘Don’t Tell’ felt bland and as though it had just been stuck in there because they needed a ‘slower' song.