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Rue Royale – Rue Royale (2008)

August 29, 2008
by


Rue Royale make some great pop songs. They are a husband and wife duo with half hailing from the US and the other half from the UK. Their self titled debut is something I have been digging for the past few weeks and have been meaning to write about for awhile now but keep getting distracted. It’s an extremely well crafted and consistent pop folk album that I really hopes gives them enough success to give us a tour over here. The interweaving of their vocals is charming and the simplicity in their song writing and arrangements allows words and melodies to really breathe; they simply focus on writing good pop songs and they could be criticised for being formulaic but that would be missing the point and missing out on a couple that has captured something special here.

With each song’s vocal duties being shared by both Ruth and Brookln it gives a great contrast and depth to the album. Dark in sound for the most part but not really in lyrical content, not to say it doesn’t go there, but for the most part the lyrics are hopeful and insightful. There are moments of brightness on offer too but mostly Rue Royale stick to dark harmonies and chords but it’s all strangely immediately accessible and likeable. Opener ‘Parachutes and Lifeboats’ is atmospheric with thudding piano notes under a softly strummed accoustic guitar; while some pleasant “oo ooo ohhhs” are sung over the vocal hook “everybody is lost they don’t know where to go” sung by the deeper voiced Brookln.

Finger picking and softly strummed chords make up most of the album with drums making their presence felt on several tracks but most of the power comes from the dual vocalists; often signing in harmonies or interweaving with each other; it’s a powerful hook and helps Rue Royale stand above others doing similar things. “UFO” focuses on different interpretations of what seems to be a UFO sighting; “They call it a halo/they call it what they want/they call it a saviour/but I don’t know what it was”. It’s an interesting idea for a song and the layered instrumentation and vocals here are stunning. For a debut album it’s extremely consistent, there few weak moments on offer and no tracks that I found myself skipping. It’s a great album to listen to intently or to put on in the background and relax too, I wouldn’t say there are any dizzying highs on offer but it’s a great consistent and refreshing pop album.

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