Palaye Royale – The Bastards
Released: May 29th, 2020
Remington Leith | lead vocals
Sebastian Danzig | guitars, keyboard
Emerson Barrett | drums, piano
The past 12 months has seen Palaye Royale dropping tiny hints and teases of their long-awaited third studio album, The Bastards. Well, the wait is finally over. The Bastards is the band’s brand new musical chapter and it’s a utopian world that Remington Leith, Sebastian Danzig and Emerson Barrett have created out of real world political issues, both visually and musically.
Divided into four acts, The Bastards could act like a soundtrack to a film or television series. Having previously provided music for American Satan, it’s not really a surprise here. The first act kicks off with ‘Little Bastards’ and follows up with ‘Massacre’, both of which straight up channel emotional pop/rock, akin to what we heard from My Chemical Romance during Danger Days. This anthemic aura carries on right throughout the entire record and sends our dark senses tingling with excitement, the same way a fast-paced action film does. ‘Anxiety’ dives in and audibly creates this idyllic world that the three-piece have devised so well in their minds. Featuring an explosive chorus of distorted guitars following an eerie siren, Palaye Royale have made a call-to-arms signal for fans to join them in these riots.
The Bastards sees the band in their most vulnerable self at times as well, lyrically. ‘Tonight is the Night I Die’ closes out the first act, with its sombre lyrics so gut-wrenching you can’t help but feel for vocalist Remington Leith. This follows on into the eye-opening track ‘Lonely’, and this is Palaye Royale at their most vulnerable moment. It’s the most easy-to-listen song on the record, and fits right in with your scene playlist.
Act II may be the part of the album where we see the three-piece bellowing their loudest, catchiest songs yet. Kicking off with a classic sax intro, ‘Hang On To Yourself’ oozes huge theatrical gimmicks, akin to that of Panic! At The Disco back in their heyday, while the upbeat, “Fucking With My Head’ sees the band venturing into rock and roll territory, combined with a bouncy yet raucous chorus driving the song. These guys are super talented at writing some incredibly real lyrics, yet at the same time going one step further with their music. These songs will sound fantastic backed up by an incredible visual stage setting, and ‘Nervous Breakdown’ is sure to bring their most passionate fans singing along in unison. I look forward to the day they can bring back their live shows because this will go down a treat.
Things get a little dark and…heavy from here. Act III begins with the melodramatic ‘Nightmares’, and those distorted guitars here give off huge stadium feels. You can’t help but listen carefully to the musical chaos driving the song too; there’s a call-to-arms feeling here and it’s a strong vibe. The story turns sombre and dark for a moment on ‘Masochist’, but those eerie beating drums continue the momentum. Leith is calling for a musical rebellion of sorts, and it’s so welcomed in this day and age. The world is a pretty scary place right now, with so many things unknown, it kinda feels like we’re all doomed. ‘Doom (Empty)’ carries that feeling perfectly; the way the music here is articulately produced is mesmerising. While vulnerability is ever-so-evident on this record, Palaye Royale are quick to shut it down, and ‘Black Sheep’ comes roaring in with its melodic pop sensibilities and guitar-driven riffs. This is a ridiculously catchy song, and I enjoyed this immensely.
The final act sees a defiant act raising their white flag. In a world of chaos, ‘Stay’ is an uplifting anthem for peace with its subtle pop/rock tones. It’s a world of contrast to the following track, where ‘Redeemer’ feels like a cry for help. Emerson Barrett has his moment here with the mesmerising piano ballad driving the song. It’s emotional and almost gut wrenching to hear Leith sing those words too. Bonus track ‘Lord of Lies’ feels almost like a studio outtake, a one last hurrah for the band to cry out “Holy shit! What did we just create?”, an astonished yet proud moment for the three piece to celebrate.
What a ride. This alternative/rock trio have combined emo pop sensibilities with a rock-and-roll essence that is rare in today’s musical landscape. Translating real world issues into a work of art is difficult to do at the best of times, but these guys have managed to fulfil that purpose through a rather articulate narrative and interesting album concept. What I loved most about The Bastards is the vision that Palaye Royale have audaciously created in something so aesthetically pleasing, you can’t help but feel the emotions in your mind as you listen along. This record is going to bring with it a spectacular live show (when the time comes) but for now, reap and fantasize its glory in your earholes.
Palaye Royale – The Bastards tracklisting:
1. Little Bastards
2. Massacre, The New American Dream
4. Tonight is the Night I Die
6. Hang On to Yourself
7. Fucking with My Head
8. Nervous Breakdown
11. Doom (Empty)
12. Black Sheep
15. Lord of Lies (Bonus track)