Album Review: Smile EP

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Review by Emillie Marvel

It’s about time we thank Sweden for delivering one of the liveliest indie bands on the market. The Royal Concept’s timeline of awesomeness kicked off with 2013’s track “D-D-Dance,” that made waves across oceans and throughout nations. Then The Royal EP saw predictions of a great future from Examiner.com, as well as coverage from Rolling Stone, FILTER, and more. Their next step was hitting a Los Angeles studio with producer Tony Hoffer (M83, Depeche Mode, The Kooks) to produce their latest EP, Smile. You’ll know it as the one that keeps you dancing with a grin on your face and friends on your arm all through the night.

A medley of deep vocals “yeah” you into the lead track “Smile.” If you’d been wondering if the band was indie, this is all you need for proof. An admirable drum beat keeps the song on track all through its nearly three and a half minutes long, but it becomes an underlying focus when the vocals are laid on. If you’re like me, this was your first encounter with vocalist David Larson, and you were indescribably satisfied with the easy listening of his voice.

Get out the incense, set up some candles, and get ready for the taste of ‘70s funk on “Fashion.” With tricks resembling those of tastemakers Cage The Elephant entwined into The Royal Concept’s pop-centric vibe, you’ll be singing along to the catchy chorus and infectious verses for years to come. But beware of car performances, because by the end of the chorus, you’ll be screaming so loud any passersby might be alarmed.

Distant and dreamy, “Higher Than Love” sounds like the evening of a late summer day, and showcases some of the best lyrics on the album. Can we get “They can call us wrong, but that’s where we belong” tattooed on our heart, please? No? Oh well, we’ll settle for shaking our hips like tambourines all night instead.

“Hurricane” is one in its own, sliding in like a serpent with sinuous verses and a mysterious vocal vibe. It’d be a spy flick, if it were into that sort of thing. After wrapping up, it leads into closing track, “Just Wanna Be Loved By U.” Slow and instant, the ballad wraps you up in it’s sorry mood right from the beginning. As it builds, the words “indie gospel” start to come to mind, and the glorious high note at the beginning of the chorus signifies where the song breaks into all of the love it packs in.

Smile by The Royal Concept is an album of moods, vibes, and fun. Turn it on whether you’re dancing under the night sky with friends, or watching a low-key Saturday afternoon slip away with your S/O, and you’ll be knee deep in the perfect soundtrack.

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