Bristol Archive Records Blog

Royal Assassins Album Review

Bristol Archive Records
This has apparently never been made available before, and is the earlier incarnation of the band before they really got going live, and they’re another one of those Bristol alt-funk outfits who blow mainly hot, but occasionally chillily cold, artily intense and somehow time-stamped. For those interested in history the man man Chris Scott was joined for this by Dave Hares and Sean Henneberry with Jerry Underwood on sax, but the band people saw was missing Hares and Henneberry (I have no idea what they do), as they’d been replaced by Ben Wilby and Keith Campbell. I have no idea who any of them are, or what happened to them, but this is an intriguing record for those who collect such records, but far more than just a curio for others.


‘Open Up The Rivers’ is gorgeous, the vocals slipping sideways over the oily surface of the sound, percussion, guitars and sax joined by elastic, but keeping to a central idea. It starts, moves away, empties out, comes rolling back and keeps that going, so you’re getting little waves of inventive sound lapping at your scalded, scolded feet. ‘Gutless Day’ is a lugubrious blend of sax tendrils, cocky leering vocals over a watchful rhythm, but it drifts in and out of focus, strangely like an orthodox Captain Beefheart. ‘Hypnotism’ keeps the drums just ticking, the bass on repeat, and vocals are delivered in a steady manner, fitting the title. ‘Ju Ju Man’ goes the other way, a raw cacophony, with indecent decorum at its heart so the body of the tune hangs together while its head falls off.

There’s angst aplenty wrung out during ‘River Of Tears’ while the sax is oddly modest,
‘Quiet Sun’ clip-clops into life which amused me because today I think I convinced Lynda to sing ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ on Second Life on Halloween, demanding “more cowbell” throughout it. People who don’t get the reference will be thrown. ‘Song Of A Bullet’ saunters crisply along, with some brilliantly trudging drums, the bass going for the austere control, guitar little more than a memory although when it does appear it has a cool gentility too. Mooching into the gracefully rusted ‘Here Forever’ I think that’s the oddest thing for me about this bunch. There’s no angular arty farting about, and nor is there is much clenched throat rantiness, which often went hand in hand with the fucked funk brigade. These are simply deft but devious songs with a full-on pulse and semi-oblique lyrics brought to life with some offhand but quality vocals. ‘Here Forever’ wouldn’t sound out of place now, like Phoenix & The Oracle, brass infiltrating atmospheric murk. The consumptive ‘Big Wheel Hit’ is almost like a jazzy version of Ausgang in that it has gruff peaks of vocal repetition, as if he’s vomiting Kerouac, and grandly glowing guitar, but coming from a different direction

Cool, daddio. (Was there ever a Mummio that we know of?)

Taken from

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