Royal Teeth’s full-length return to indie pop is finally here, six years after the band’s debut album. With its new LP, “Hard Luck,” the Louisiana-formed four-piece makes one thing clear: Despite some hard knocks, Royal Teeth won’t stop.
Royal Teeth caught a break when the band’s single “Wild” — originally appearing on its 2011 EP, "Act Naturally," and then its 2013 full-length album, "Glow" — found the national spotlight. But following successes in 2012-14, the group ran into a few bumps in the road.
The group — made up of musicians from Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans — had signed with Dangerbird Records, and then moved to Elektra Records before splitting with the label in 2016. Toward the end of that year, Royal Teeth released its second EP, "Amateurs." The band later joined forces with Round Hill Music but struggled to record new material after several members moved from New Orleans to Nashville, Tennessee.
The complications left vocalist Gary Larsen and the band wondering if their days in the industry were numbered. That was until “something finally switched inside of me,” Larsen said in statement about "Hard Luck." “I decided that if we are going down, then we are going down swinging.”
That attitude fueled the songwriting and sound behind “Hard Luck.” The album is a testament to Royal Teeth’s resilience, captured by the LP’s opening track, “Never Gonna Quit,” and the music’s upbeat, self-empowering energy. Catchy lyrical hooks and punchy synths and drums keep the songs fun, while the occasional huge guitar riff makes a few cuts stand out, such as confidence boosters “Show You What I Can Do” and “Time Bomb.”
Later in the album, “Rivalry” is a fresh contrast with more moody tones and angst, fueled in part by “back-end label drama,” Larsen said. A powerful vocal performance from Nora Patterson, a Baton Rouge native, makes “Rivalry” one of the more sincerely emotional tracks on the album.
Although "Hard Luck" can be somewhat predictable — much of the LP doesn't deviate from the cheery electro-pop heard on Royal Teeth’s past work — the album is a solid sophomore effort by the band. More so, it’s an inspiring statement of the artists’ will to push forward and create, no matter the obstacle.
“Hard Luck” is available on major streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music.
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