The Bastards – Palaye Royale

I’m honestly surprised to be putting this album on the list; at first glance, it’s a continuation of Boom Boom Room (which, by the way, was incredible, and you should hear “Mr. Doctor Man”) that’s a lot more subdued, but there’s a lot more depth to it than that, and it’s definitely full of bangers. “Massacre, The New American Dream” is a standout, a lo-fi fast punk track that’s as easy on the ears as it is hard on the brain; “I’ve given up on America’s racist agenda” is a great lyric that they beautifully fit into the politically intense song. The album also has “Hang on to Yourself” and “Fucking With My Head” to boast about, blues rock tracks that attempt to remind the listener of “Hold On, I’m Coming” and “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” with their harmony. However, the best parts of this album are when Palaye Royale clearly takes influence from hip hop, such as “Nervous Breakdown”, which opens with an Ice-T style spoken rhythm over a hard rock instrumental and continues into a clearly Post Malone-inspired bridge. “Tonight is the Night I Die” is the most seamless fusion of emo rap with true punk yet, featuring orchestral instrumentation reminiscent of Good kid, m.A.A.d. City, beats that I can’t place but clearly come from experimental hip hop (I’m hesitant to say Death Grips), and Remington Leith’s unmistakably punk screaming; “Anxiety”, “Stay”, and “Doom (Empty)” also fuse experimental hip hop (or, I guess, trap, especially on “Stay”) and punk influences in ways that I love, specifically developing musical ideas put out by the band PVRIS. The way “Masochist” develops its beat is also really cool, and I definitely want to see more stuff that keeps that kind of focus; somehow, it stays on largely the same rhythm and doesn’t change harmony, but yet the chorus and breakdown are still highlighted and intense. My favorite song on the album is “Black Sheep”, but I’m a sucker for fast grooves with sixteenth-note drums which give way to quarter-note beats of hard chords and full stops, not to mention the superb subdued guitar on the short bridge between the two and the lead guitar constantly playing awesome background noise. I’m pretty sure I’ll be listening to these songs again and again in the coming weeks, especially “Redeemer” and “Massacre, The New American Dream”.

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