Royal Headache: High

HighI am so in love with this album it’s ridiculous. I am in love with the concept of it. I am in love with the execution of it. I want to hug the band and thank them for making an album so melodic, yet so ballsy. For being a lead singer who’s clearly punk as fuck but still cares about sounding good. For his perfect nasaly delivery and Aussie-accented crooning through a layer of old-microphone noise. Even when they dial it back on chiller songs like “Wouldn’t You Know,” they end up sounding like a time-warped Spoon being played analog through an old PA and like like what you kind of wish latter-day Replacements would have sounded like on tracks like “Carolina.”

Ms. Hipster and her pop sensibility (mixed with a whole lot of 70s AM radio knowledge) was even impressed with the musicality of this album and instantaneously went to grab the album on Apple Music (or Spotify or whatever she’s using these days). There’s just a universality to the music, an energy that is familiar and timeless, but also super-modern in today’s world that seems to shun anything spirited and rocking. Royal Headache seems to give a very punk, but high-minded punk, middle finger to the doubters and power through tunes that are upbeat and driving in a very positive way. It’s easy to forget that punk music, because of what feels like decades of mope and shoegaze and electronic dopiness and cloudy production, was once the thing that made us feel good about our music and inspired teens to strap on guitars in their parents’ basements and garages so they could share the joy and energy with everyone rather than sit and construct bleeps and bloops on their laptops in their bedrooms. This album feels like one of those shared experiences, a record meant to be played in sweaty clubs with hordes of adoring fans all experiencing it in unison. It’s not often these days, with our on-demand culture, that there is a set of songs you want to listen to with other people and serves the communal good. So thank you, Royal Headache, for the panacea for our burrowing musical tendencies and our rock and roll slumber.