Article by Andrés Alvarado
The promise of grandeur behind Canadian-American fashion-rock band Palaye Royale has been looming for quite a while. Both on the verge of becoming the next big kitschy outfit or the next big act that commands universal respect is a fine line to walk; and Palaye Royale has constantly baffled critics and rock-n-roll purists as to which lane they decidedly navigate. Nonetheless, here we are, album number three, The Bastards. Categorized as a “concept” album upon release, The Bastards postures as Palaye Royale‘s most accessible album to date — which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask.
If The Bastards proves one thing, it is this: Palaye Royale can entertain across the entirety of an album. The Bastards is a fun, forceful, chaotic, romantic, charming and catchy kind of album. Fusing plenty of ’80s glam, classic rock and pop, The Bastards is a chic offering from Palaye Royale; and an album that may thrust them onto bigger and glitzier stages for their live performances.
Leading the charge on The Bastards is single Lonely with its polished and gloomy flair. The ballad-like track is a standout statement for popularity. Lonely is Palaye Royale making the move from cult audience favorite to mainstream darlings. It carries a strong radio-friendly play despite the lack of originality — one could easily mistake Lonely for a circa-2015 Twenty One Pilots release.
Doubling down on the mainstream generic formula, the Remington Leith-led siblings take a page straight out of the Panic! at the Disco playbook via cabaret glam-pop banger Hang on to Yourself, while Little Bastards serves as earworm with its snappy and juvenile na-na-na-na chorus.
However, where Palaye Royale heavily flexes its muscles is when the strings and thump get rowdy; as is the case with numbers Nightmares, Nervous Breakdown, Masochist, and Black Sheep. This is when Palaye Royale transforms from a gimmicky good time to a band with a bright future and one to be reckoned with — and where their talent justifies the frustrations from critics and purists alike. The capacity to excel is there, but Palaye Royale is still dealing with growing pains.
The Bastards is an apt name for this album, as Palaye Royale has yet to birth their own quintessential style. At times the band flashes rock brilliance and at times they give into their pop sensibilities a tad much. For what it is worth, there is no real downer on this record, just a volatile good time. Be prepared to get Palaye Royale most of the time and Palaye Royale doing their best impressions at times.
Album Score: 6/10 — Key Tracks: Nightmares, Nervous Breakdown, Masochist and Black Sheep.