By Samuel Stevens
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Genre: Rock, Hard Rock
Label: Sumerian Records
The Juno nominated, Canadian/American rock band Palaye Royale consisting of the three brothers, Remington Leith (vocals), Emerson Barrett (drums), Sebastian Danzig (guitar), and now official members, Daniel Curcio (bass) and Andrew Martin (guitar) who after being long time touring members with the band are finally set to release their massive third full length album, The Bastards this week after a eleven month long tease. The band wrote the album in various places around the world, renting out spaces to song write, however the band recorded majority of The Bastards in the house of Ashton Irwin, the drummer for the pop punk/pop act, 5 Seconds of Summer. While Irwin was on the road touring with 5 Seconds of Summer, he let the members of Palaye Royale and crew to use a completely blacked out room that’s located in the crawlspace of his house that they used to cut some tracks for the album.
The Bastards could be seen as a partial concept album, set in a place that is a reflection of their own lives, but in a mythological sense. The album takes place on an island titled Obsidian, set in the year 1888. Obsidian is in a world that started off with the intentions of free thinkers and artists to amalgamate together. Eventually this fictional world created by the band becomes overwhelmed with political power and evil toxicity across the land. If anyone wants to remain a true individual in this society of Obsidian, you must wear a gas mask. The band, specially Emerson have been working along side the Swedish artist known as XOBillie, who was originally just a fan of the band on a graphic novel for The Bastards. Some of XOBillie’s recent art for Palaye Royale can be seen in the band’s music video for their single, “Little Bastards.”
Musically for the band, The Bastards is a tremendous step up for the members of Palaye Royale, showcasing a new enthusiasm, as well two new members that joined the fray to contribute to the songwriting. The band swayed into a new era from their self described fashion rock on their two part album, Boom Boom Room (Side A) and Boom Boom Room (Side B) to display a little heavier side to their music, blurring the lines into a more hard rock version of themselves with various elements from other genres scattered throughout the effort. Lyrically on The Bastards, the band went with an honest and open approach by addressing plenty of significant issues that are frequent in today’s youth. Rather it’s the struggles of mental health, the gun violence epidemic, substance use as a mean to escape a strenuous reality, or parental abandonment, the band cover it on The Bastards‘ whopping fifteen tracks.
The Bastards opens up with one of it’s eight singles, “Little Bastards,” one of many that have been released over the course of the last eleven months. The song is about the frustration and anger towards individuals that are meant to be friends, but end up not being there when you need them the most. The track exhibits the band’s new direction right off at the start of the album, for just a taste at what the other fourteen tracks have in store to it’s listeners. “Fake friends all around / They watch while I drown / No one is there to help me.”
Following “Little Bastards” is the boisterous and almost punk rock-esque song, “Massacre, The New American Dream.” This is one of the heavier songs lyrically on the album, touching on the gun violence epidemic prevalent in America. “Generation Y, Generation why are we / Why are we so casual ’bout these casualties? / (Come on) All you killers on your killing sprees / (Come on) A massacre’s the new American dream / (Come on) And all the kids on the murder scene.”
The first two singles, “Fucking with my Head” and “Nervous Breakdown” are essentially a two part song. “Fucking with my Head” touches on emotional abuse put on someone by someone else and the lasting scarring it can do to the human mind. While “Nervous Breakdown” covers the aftermath of leaving the toxic person in the past. “Lonely” is another heavy lyric based track about the mental and physical abuse vocalist, Remington Leith endured as a child, centered around an acoustic guitar, light drums, and a haunting string arrangement. “Tonight Is The Night I Die” is a magnificent Bond theme inspired type track. While the song, “Doom (Empty)” is a heavy bass driven track with an almost sludge metal bass line.
For anyone who has, or hasn’t been been keeping up with the band’s previous eight singles that have been released over the last year before the album releases, May 29th, these singles are just highlights of the entire album. While these eight tracks are showcasing the bands new direction, when all fifteen tracks are listened to as one whole it all falls into place for a masterful piece of work from Palaye Royale.