Review by Josh Teggert.
With the release of ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’, the second single from their new album (titled How Did We Get So Dark?), Royal Blood are officially back, shamelessly loud and unscathed from their extensive world tour of their ground-breaking, self-titled debut album. In spite of that, much like this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, this follow-up album inherently loses a key component in its predecessor’s triumph: the element of surprise.
Bottom line: ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ embodies everything that made Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher’s previous work so exceptional, and whether this is for good or bad is down to personal opinion. Furthermore, it is worth noting that ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ is actually a relatively old-ish song – first performed during their Leeds Festival set back in 2015, so it shouldn’t really come as any shock that it is similar to their preceding material.
However, it cannot be denied that this new single is a catchy and exciting ride, and it emphatically fronts an otherwise uninspiring second album from the rock duo.
‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ opens with an uncompromisingly explosive guitar and drums sequence that rings through the headphones with booming reverberance, before smoothly transitioning into an upbeat, chromatic verse tune, reminiscent of the awesome ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ from their earlier slate. In the verse, the lyrics flow remarkably well; the line “then she drags me by one finger, to her lips hook, line and sinker, honey I’m a sucker when you linger” is an absolute joy to listen to, which is more than can be said for the album as a whole.
Nevertheless, the comment cannot be avoided that ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ arguably fails to introduce anything new to Royal Blood’s admittedly limited roster. Additionally, the chorus isn’t anything to rave about, quite literally “caught in the middle” of the verse and the exhilarating leading phrase, yet it works well enough amongst the rest of the song. The introduction of the overlapping guitar parts in the middle solo, however, elaborates on the foundations of the chorus superbly – Kerr’s distinguished yet intricately crafted distorted bass sound still baffles musicians and listeners alike, as to how he achieves all this using just one bass guitar.
This song is destined to be a belting headline anthem in their upcoming shows, and if the distinct sound of Royal Blood’s music is the sort of style that you like, then ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ is certain to please. It is primarily the exceptional incorporation of the melody and the lyrics, alongside that spectacular principal riff, that makes this single a stimulating new song from Royal Blood’s generally mediocre second outing.
‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ is one of the ‘killer’ tracks from what is ultimately a mostly ‘filler’ album. Crank the volume up to 11 and listen to this one in all its glory; you definitely won’t regret it.