WHITE ROYAL

White Royal are from one of t’Yorkshires (I’d guess West). As is the way these days, they seem pretty reclusive, with little in the way of biog or indeed any information at all. It’s as if they’ve just formed – or perhaps they have? Either way, they’ve but two tracks in the electronic ether, the latter of which is our tip for today.

Latest release ‘False Widow’ opens with a lazily-picked handful of guitar chords, before gentle electronica peeks through like the first plucky heads of spring snowdrops. The instrumentation is resolutely downtempo – reverbs go on for hours, synth washes evoke a soundscape at once desolate yet comfortingly soft and pillowy. The drum work in the third act threatens to break into something vaguely danceable, before thinking better of it and retreating back into its shell like a startled snail. This wouldn’t be out of place on the second CD of a Café del Mar compilation from the early noughties; ideal for mellow contemplation in the early hours, when only the most tasteful and discreet sounds will carry the mood. That said, there’s a darkness here: a hint of melancholy which keeps things interesting.

It’s going to be impossible to get to the end of this piece without mentioning The XX, so let’s run with that thought. John Hobson’s almost-whispered vocal style at times is a dead ringer for Oliver Sim, with the added virtue of being able to properly sing in a higher register, thus handling Romy Madley Croft’s role as well. The aforementioned atmospheric musicality and lazy tempo are again familiar tropes from the Mercury-bothering trio. But as The XX fall in love with New York, is the door left ajar for a group of Yorkshiremen to steal a piece of their quiet thunder?

Words by Martin Sharman

Tipped by Adam from Alphabet Bands

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