Review: Royal Headache reaches a new “High” _lowres

 

Royal Headache HIGH

Australian export Royal Headache was on the verge of breaking up while recording its sophomore album “High.” But the band pushed through its pain, turning in the most vital punk rock album I’ve heard in years.

Singer Shogun yells as if his life depended on it. On the first track, he’s part Joey Ramone and part Joe Strummer, admitting “I used to live in a world/ Of rock ‘n’ roll and tons of girls/They were my own fantasy.”

When the songs aren’t blowing by like something shot out of a cannon (hear the break-neck pace of “Another World”), the band mines Motown and Stax sounds better than those who advertise that as a part of their sound. “Wouldn’t You Know” is the type of ballad Alabama Shakes has been trying to write over two albums. “Carolina” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Ryan Adams record, either.

This is the kind of impressive document of rock fury that gets lodged in your brain for months on end. You’d be a fool to let it escape.