Big, reverby guitars; dramatic peaks and troughs; spaghetti western-style, with tamales, a big pitcher of beer and a whisky chaser'. *****
- David Nichols, The Big Issue
royalchord: i gave you a mountain
we introduce to you the debut LP I gave you a mountain, an independent release from royalchord, a four piece band from melbourne, who exquisitely blend the sounds of immaculate country, angelic surf, ambient folk, pure pop and spaghetti westerns, with their own exotic twist. last year royalchord supported joe pernice (scud mountain boys) and kurt wagner (lambchop), and charmed a rather surprised audience with their folk-like qualities and enchanting pop.
royalchord features liz (drums), tammy (acoustic & rhythm/electric guitar, vocals, bass), eliza (acoustic & lead/electric guitar, vocals, keyboard, bass) and steve (double bass). inspired by the likes of calexico, smog, friends of dean martinez, johnny cash, the scud mountain boys, I gave you a mountain, their current release, is an inextricable - yet surprisingly coherent - mix of melodies, beginning with a classic surf-styled track a friendly face. just as one is acclimatising themselves to the warm sand and cool water, the track suddenly ends, and one is exposed to the enigmatic pure pop of notion of invisibility. with the sad - yet beautiful - lead guitar of Tim Spelman (spacemaker, lacto-ovo) and almost reserved, middle ranged vocals of eliza one is reminded of Chris Isaak walking down a city street, with the thought of unrequited love, an enigmatic sense of loss, all the while hearing a tune that sounds distinctly familiar.
please take the time to listen to the haunting melodies, the familiar harmonies and gentle beats of I gave you a mountain, which will expose you to the music that is mesmerising to some, yet down to earth to others. there is a certain sense of irony in the music, as the songs seem to transcend even the genre they try to attach themselves to. new commandment, a tremendous country ballad, speaks of one moving to the country, due to lost love, with the soft, harmless vocals that croon thou shall never fall in love again. though the song is written in typical country style, one would doubt if the writer was ever religious or had even, for that matter, listened to country music. other lyrics include he was a message that I forgot to play (human glue) and does love leave the earth when you go? (as you are) . the songs and lyrics are distinctively personal, somewhat naive, yet manage to convey a maturity that is so beautiful it will make you want to cry.
tammy and eliza, who co-wrote the album, have spent countless days sitting in each others' bedrooms, assembling the basic structure of their songs. their music has become somewhat idiosyncratic, with heavy, spectacularly reverbed guitar lines/solos, washy yet powerful vocals, combined with the gentle strum of a nylon string guitar, and the somewhat tamed beats from ollie on the drums. on occasions the guitars are distorted, the tempo is raised and the music acquires a rhythm and pop sensibility that will govern you for days.
royalchord successfully launched their LP in early 2000. the successful performance was met with an equally inspiring audience who were charmed and captivated with every song.
now compromising two new members; liz on drums and percussion, and steve playing the double bass, royalchord's sound has somewhat evolved, yet still staying in tune with the basic elements and pure sounds that dominate their debut release. with a 7" to be released in late October, 2001 and playing shows in both adelaide and sydney, as well as a handful of performances in melbourne, royalchord look set to continue an interesting and successful year.
phone: 0417 362 162
post: PO Box 1474, Collingwood, VIC 3066