Royden – Best Friends Our Worst Enemies (CD)

After starting out “Best Friends Our Worst Enemies” slowly with their first track “Carabella”, Roden breaks through to their listeners with the very AFI-influenced “Ghosthouse, 1922”. The multiple-vocals of the aforementioned “Ghosthouse, 1922” really make the track crash and break against the ears of listeners, and go off into pseudo-instrumental noodling soon after. “Murder Of An Albatross” is a much more vocally-focused track, and the lack of audible instrumentation (for it hides mostly behind the super-sonic vocals) really gives the track an off-kilter feel. The snaky opening for “The Doolittle Raids”, with a resurgent bass (laid down by Kerry) allows the band to follow up with the pyrotechnic guitar/drum assault present during the next phase of the track. Royden goes back to the well with the multi-part vocal harmony, succeeding in raising the stakes one more time and allowing the track to be one of the most exciting on “Best Friends”.

The slower tempo of the ultimate track “Made In Lies” allows for a slow burn to grow and slowly engulf everything; the increasing chaos in Royden’s style really allows the band to play with a fury that was up to this point not heard in their music. What Royden does with “Best Friends, Our Worst Enemies” is tell a story – each track is a different chapter, and the author has wisely decided to include different happenings in each track. The intensity in which Royden plays during tracks like “Carabella” is beyond reproach; with just enough derivation from the formula, Royden comes through with a close grouping of hits without any of the complete misses that one comes to expect with the oft-times singles-heavy “emo” bands of the month.

The music present on “Best Friends” is not the most innovative, but what it does succeed in the best is the fact that it sounds so damn fresh and exciting even after failures like The Chemistry and A Static Lullaby have forever sullied the style. Considering this EP came out last year I have no doubt that Royden has been able to cultivate their sound in the intervening months, and will be more than up to the challenge of creating a full album. The emotional impact may be the only weakness on this disc, but there is no doubt in my mind that given forty or fifty minutes, Royden will be able to create an album to fully pull the heartstrings of their listeners.

Top Track: The Doolittle Raids

Rating: 6.9/10

Royden – Best Friends Our Worst Enemies / 2004 Genco / 5 Tracks / / Reviewed 08 July 2005

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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