Author: Briana Ellison
On Friday, June 24, rock group Palaye Royale released their debut album “Boom Boom Room.” The album is the band’s follow-up to 2013’s “The Ends Beginning – EP.”
Palaye Royale is made up of lead vocalist Remington Leith, guitarist and organist Sebastian Danzig and drummer Emerson Barrett. The then-unknown band won MTV’s Musical March Madness in 2014 purely as a write-in from their dedicated fanbase. This win helped them land a record deal with Sumerian Records.
“Boom Boom Room” is a fast-paced album featuring the best elements of ’70s, ’80s and ’90s rock ‘n’ roll.
The first song is the lead single “Don’t Feel Quite Right,” which was released at the end of January. It features a thumping drumbeat and a scratching guitar riff. Leith’s usually scratchy and soulful vocals, in this song have a loose, messy air to them in order to match the song’s tone. At different times he sounds slightly like either Steven Tyler or Prince. With Danzig’s flowing and flowery guitar playing and Leith’s vocals, this song is the best introduction to the fashion-art rock band.
The second song is “How Do You Do?,” which opens with Danzig’s guitar sounding like it could fit in with The Beatles or any rock band that fronted the huge 1970s rock movement, furthered by Leith’s lyrical reference to The Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” The star of this song is undoubtedly Barrett’s percussion section, which is clean, concise and colorful, the real driving force behind the song. Lyrically and sonically it sounds like it belongs in an action movie with its carefree escapist lyrics and the scaling guitar riffs.
Third up is “My Youth Generation.” Leith’s intense whispered lyrics during the first verse setup the loud, clashing nature of the chorus, which is indicative of the nature of “my generation” as Leith sings. The stair-stepping of Leith’s vocals are matched by Danzig’s guitar, which follows and leads him through the brash party song. Lyrically, the song explores the idea that we all have thoughts and opinions on every conceivable subject. However, we refuse to discuss these thoughts due to the fear of outside judgment and the idea that conversation’s are temporary.
Next is “Mr. Doctor Man,” one of my personal favorites. It begins with a guitar riff for the ages. Danzig’s ridiculously adept playing makes you wonder how this band went so long without being signed to a record label. The opening riff evokes a feeling of confusion and one pleading with someone or for something. This is furthered by Leith’s hurried tone of voice, lyrically exploring the plight of someone trying to escape a physical and mental prison being imposed on him. The song also touches on the ways we are misled into believing lies, referred to metaphorically as people being injected with a mystery medication. “Mr. Doctor Man” may be my favorite song on the album, with its urgent message of self-awareness.
Following is “Sick Boy Soldier,” which – in name if not in tone – sounds like the continuation of “Mr. Doctor Man.” A somber song, it starts off with a lethargic, contemplative guitar. Leith’s vocals are haunting, and combined with Barrett’s dark drumbeat furthers the sense of unease. Sonically, the chorus is more upbeat, though the lyrics are still beautifully frightening. Added is a tripping, burlesque organ, which completes the cold beauty of this song. Though it contains many musical elements and Leith’s powerful vocals, they all meld into a beautifully tragic song that’s an album standout.
The sixth song is “Live Like We Want To,” which is dominated by a demanding drumbeat. It’s significantly more upbeat than the previous song. In conjunction with the song, Leith’s vocals are worry-free, going up and down the scale on their own controlled volition. Danzig’s guitar is beautifully chaotic through most of the song, and then more controlled during the song’s calmer parts, reflecting the range of the song and album as a whole.
Song number seven is “Ma Chérie,” which features Kellin Quinn. It’s a loving, summertime song reminding me of the upbeat pop-rock ballads that characterized the 1970s. Leith allows his voice to smooth out during the song, employing the grittier edge to his voice sparingly. On the second verse he’s joined by Sleeping With Sirens vocalist Kellin Quinn. Considering Quinn’s voice is considerably higher in pitch, his added vocals give the light song a nice call-and-echo feel. Lyrically the song is about losing a loved one in a heartbreakingly surprising way. Leith laments this loss and his inability to “make you fall in love with me.”
The next song is “Too Many People,” a thoughtful, wondering song. A sense of uncertainty is strong here, as the song explores the anxiety and doubtfulness that comes with being overwhelmed in social situations. The song is truly heartbreaking, with the lyrics describing someone negatively affected by their environment, with the more positive music detailing the false-happy one must affect to survive.
Following is “Where Is The Boom?” which has multiple transitions from a slower-paced song to a fast-paced one. This song reminds me of the band Weezer, especially in its message of abandoning all cares and realizing you haven’t lived up to your own expectations. The pace transitions truly relay the anxiety and insecurity one feels as they find their dream moving farther away. This song allows Barrett and Danzig’s playing and expert knowledge of their instruments to shine as they deftly navigate the pact to further portray these emotions.
Next is “Clockwork,” a continuation of the previous song that is slower and more dejected, without the pace transitions. Leith’s vocals, Danzig’s guitar and Barrett’s percussion all give the impression of being shell-shocked and surprised by an unforeseen outcome. “Clockwork” is the closest the band and album comes to a ballad, and it works. The lyrics and musical composition work together to highlight the unknown and surrendering nature of the song.
The eleventh song is “Warhol,” with a funk-inspired guitar, bass and drumbeat. The lyrics apply to the individual-driven nature of artist Andy Warhol’s personality and parties. Everything about this song is inspired by the titular artist, especially the chorus, which emphasizes living a carefree lifestyle and maintaining domain over your body and life.
The penultimate song is “Rag Doll,” a very bluesy song with a funky guitar and an eerie scaling organ. Moving to the chorus, the song becomes very Queen-esque with the gloriously rambling nature of the guitar and organ, while Leith’s vocals and Barrett’s drumming are more structured, giving another hint of The Beatles’ influence on this band. The second half of the song features a softer and slower take on the song. This helps to illuminate the anti-authority, pro-individual message of the song as Leith refuses to be the titular “rag doll.”
“All My Friends” opens like the perfect closer to an album (even though it’s followed by two bonus tracks). Beginning as a quasi-ballad, but opening up to a traditional rock song. “All My Friends” details the culmination of the struggles and triumphs detailed in the preceding 12 songs. It’s a song of realization and reflection with Leith musing on the actions that brought him to his end. Danzig’s sprightly and active guitar furthers the feel of someone reaching the end of a taxing, but somewhat enjoyable, journey. With Leith’s Steven Tyler-esque runs and Barrett’s determined drumming, “All My Friends” is one of the best songs on the album and serves as the perfect closer to the album.
Overall, I give “Boom Boom Room” a 9/10. All of the songs were perfectly crafted, and I like the fact that it isn’t bogged down with too many ballads. However, I thought that adding their “The Ends Beginning – EP’s” lead single “Get Higher” as a bonus track was unnecessary. Additionally, I would’ve included the other bonus track, another anthem for those who thrive in isolation and individualism titled “White” into the overall album. All this aside, Palaye Royale’s debut is a positive omen of good things to come for the band. Take a listen to “Boom Boom Room” below.
TRACKS TO LISTEN TO: Mr. Doctor Man, Sick Boy Soldier, Too Many People, Clockwork, Warhol