by Robert Bell
Austin's Royal Forest traffics in mid-tempo, modern psychedelic rock, with reverb-heavy vocals, swirly washes of guitar and sound effects galore. The band's self-titled EP from last year treads similar ground as Grizzly Bear or a slightly more restrained Tame Impala.
The pulsing "Civilwarland" gets things off to a rollicking start and a name-check of "CivilWarLand in Bad Decline," the short story collection by George Saunders that is totemic among 20- and 30-somethings nowadays in the way that Richard Brautigan novels were to hippies.
A recent EP of covers finds the band in an even more subdued mood. Neil Young's "Borrowed Tune" eschews the broken-down-drunk-at-the-piano feel of the original for a Xanax-numbed, contemporary interpretation. Similarly, Bob Dylan's "You're a Big Girl Now" feels detached, cold and distant. It's the sound of heartbreak on the dark side of the moon as opposed to the smoldering, earthly ember of pain that is Dylan's original.
This band will probably sound excellent inside Artchurch Studio.