Album Review // PALAYE ROYALE ‘The Bastards’
Raw, mad, brutal, honest and vulnerable is a strange cocktail of words but very accurate in describing Palaye Royale’s rollercoaster of an album, The Bastards.
There couldn’t be a smoother way of preparing the listeners and introducing them to the madness to be released in this album than through the anthemic Little Bastards that embodies the classically edgy ‘Palaye Royale’ style we all fell in love with and that ultimately explodes into high-energy, rebellious rock ‘n’ roll vibes during the last seconds. The renegade attitude is manifested further in Massacre, The American Dream as it reveals and revolts against the broadly spread societal issues prevalent in the American society and more specifically among the young generation, while Anxiety focuses on the individual’s toxic upbringing that ultimately leads to the noxious future society.
Tonight Is The Night I Die, which was initially debuted in part as the soundtrack for the ‘American Satan’ series trailer, introduces a surprising shift of pace and vibe to the album: while still holding traces of the trademark ‘Palaye Royale’ sound, it adds a new dimension of fresh yet heavily cinematic dramatism to their music. Lonely brings the vibe back home, to what we can all immediately recognise as the band’s kind of song, which makes me wonder why they chose to break the album’s flow with the so different Tonight Is The Night I Die only to revert to the style from before this tune. But anyway, Lonely has been out for a while now but no matter how many times I hear it, the ‘calm’ vocals backed only lightly by steady drums and minimal guitar make its honest, heart-breaking and above all real story stir up some unpleasant emotions.
But don’t worry, sadness, pain and hurt is not what awaits, but quite on the opposite as Hang On To Yourself brings some glamourous confidence to the mix and is bound to snap you right out of any dark thoughts with its catchy, almost dancey rhythm and its intoxicating self-confidence, while Masochist addresses the same theme but in a contrasting manner. Fucking With My Head follows with straight up rock ‘n’ roll vibe that will fill you with restlessness and weird positivity despite being a song about unstable, fluctuating thoughts. After such a sudden rise from the pits of despair to the high heaven of ‘sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll’ lifestyle, only one thing is bound to happen and Nervous Breakdown captures the upcoming rollercoaster of emotions by employing a wide range of attitudes and rhythms captured best by the fluid back and forth transition from calm and sad to explosive and raspy vocals. Continuing on the idea of the irregular and everchanging moods, Nightmares slams the doors wide open and invites into a twisted mind that restlessly jumps between episodes of dwelling on negative feelings and episodes of bliss based on wild, all-out partying.
The album reaches its raw, heart-breaking finale with Stay and Redeemer, two songs completely stripped of any fake or induced confidence and which instead are completely genuine, purely emotional and above all BRAVE as they unravel what hides behind this giant, opaque facade of rage, madness, frivolity and ‘ignorantly’ self-destructive habits: a deep, genuine hope and intense craving for a happy ending where pain fades away as the family is finally and irreversibly reunited.
Now some of you might have realised somewhere along this album the double meaning of the title The Bastards, embracing its informal meaning as a referral to both the way the brothers may be perceived and also its archaic meaning as a referral to their family without a steady paternal figure. All in all, this album makes for a very courageous approach to dealing with the past, letting out all the rage that was bottled up inside, understanding its effect on the present and future and ultimately keeping one’s head up with self-confidence and an unyielding attitude as life carries on. Palaye Royale are well on their way to perfecting their unique sound and to see them experimenting with different rhythms, pushing the limits on the vocals and allowing for vulnerability to surface can only point towards one thing: a sparklingly bright future as a band that will leave its mark on a generation.