Following in the footsteps of The Hives, The Hellacopters and others, Royal Republic have helped sustain Sweden’s reputation for sharp, zingy garage rock – the kind of wide-eyed noise to make you dance and put your fist through a door.
Drummer Per Andreasson once described the band as a great “release” after years of musical discipline (they met at Malmo’s prestigious Academy Of Music). In one sense this is reflected in album no.3, Weekend Man. Its wild energy and madman vocal moments – see the opening ‘AAARHHGGHH!’ of the addictive When I See You Dance With Another – certainly feel miles away from controlled scholastic barriers.
At the same time, however, there’s a lot about Weekend Man that’s very disciplined. Harder, smarter and tighter than their first two albums (while still spanning 13 tracks and various mood changes), it carries itself with the razor precision and command of a military exercise. Albeit one where the soldiers wear very stylish uniforms, and end up dropping out to become rockstars.
Clearly the academic training left an impact. In a good way, though, as they’ve become master crafters of fun-fuelled magnetism. No harmony or beat is out of place. High-voltage rapier chops make a fierce backbone for slick, sassy melodies and Eagles Of Death Metal-esque swagger – from the head-banging boogie of Walk! to the grander scope of Kung Fu Lovin’.
True, theirs is ground that’s be laid, very well, by their countrymen (the riff for High Times is uncannily close to The Hives’ Walk Idiot Walk), but Weekend Man brings so much fresh drive and colour to the table it’d be unfair to dismiss them as mere copycats. The pretty Any Given Sunday mixes 80s new wave-tinged guitars with seductive vocals, while the pensive American Dream sounds like something The Strokes could’ve written – if they’d spent less time in the city and more time driving along the coast. By no means a one-dimensional record, then.
If you want a turbocharged way to start your weekend – one to take you through the big nights out and leisurely nights in – you could do a lot worse than Weekend Man.