Life In-Between (Merovingian)
By Scott Hefflon
New and clunkily-named (and probably funded) label Merovingian Music come out swinging with that Kittie release no one could figure out what label it was on, plus Sebastian Bach’s Angel Down (which many of us credited to Caroline), and now unknown-for-now rockers Royal Bliss. These guys rocked out on their The Control Group debut, which is why the label probably dropped them, ran, and hid. Royal Bliss, admittedly, might get stuck with the “passionate rock” tag, like Hinder and other tragic embarrassments of our times, but unlike Hinder’s lyrics, which rival Plain White T’s for being so obvious, straight-forward, and middle-school they literally make your ears bleed if you’re over the age of 15 and’ve nailed more than one skank in your life, Royal Bliss can actually write decent lyrics. Uh, not always, but even the simple ones somehow ring true due to their delivery. There’s sadness here. Perhaps worldly melancholy over emo crybaby, see? Not to namedrop Entwine, seeing as most Americans are too distracted to seek out great bands not bombarding them on MySpace, but some of the last few tracks here surge and swell with the catchy choruses and overlapping refrains that the “Sad Song” kings Entwine did, the reason their three CDs are in my faves collection, and countless others were sold for a stick of gum.
Closer “I Was Drunk” is a tune I’ve now listened to going on 20 times. Simple and strummy, honest and slow-building, like the best Social Distortion hard-livin’ ballads you’ve never heard, this one’s a keeper. Close your eyes, think of all the great women you lost cuz you were drunk, a proud’n’loud asshole, and said or did the wrong thing. This song is with you, apologetic but not weak, strong but not bullheaded. A great song.