There are a few different styles that are shown off by Royce at the opening of their “Tuff Love”. The blend of dreamy pop with very funky and electronic backing beats give individuals two distinct ways to see the band. The track is catchy and radio friendly in the God Lives Underwater way, and has a current sound even if the constituent parts of Royce here are slightly older. The band decides to throw a monkey wrench into their momentum by including a track like “Ebbs & Flows”. This track is eight minutes long, and while the band is able to pass the finish line with this song, the band is much more weak than they were at the end of the title track.
“Ginelle” keeps its length to under three minutes and the band is able to pull some of the strengths of “Tuff Love” and restore themselves to a position near that of the first track Each of the songs on “Tuff Love” give the band a little more substance and a fullness that will make believers out of anyone who might be listening in to the band. The inclusion of horns to “Girls on Bikes” coupled with the Beck-like vocals on the track keep Royce’s sound firmly planted in the nineties. In a sense, “Girls On Bikes” also has a sound comparable to that of Momus. The inclusion of a rapper on “Girls On Bikes” shifts the sound of Royce considerably. “Vladimir” has the driving beats of a Dirty Vegas or Crystal Method, and even if the band maintains its electronic meet funky sound with the track, the song shows that Royce has a lot of latitude when it comes to tracks on this album. Royce comes out of left field with this album, and by creating a whole new sound by using genres that have been done to death (or close to that), Royce reinvigorates music.
There is little present here that the band could change to make this album any stronger. With the perfect blend of uptempo and more contemplative tracks, Royce is an act that will go far if enough people are turned onto their style of music. Give this disc a spin if you like any of the acts or genres that were mentioned as similar to the overall output of Royce on “Tuff Love”. You will not be disappointed in the least.
Top Tracks: Vladimir, Big Tears
Royce – Tuff Love / 2006 Galapagos 4 / 12 Tracks / http://www.roycelove.com / http://www.galapagos4.com / Reviewed 21 October 2006