Washington D.C. pop-rockers Broke Royals keep the art of the concept album alive and well with this release. Driving with sweeping instrumental warm, smooth guitars and an equally smooth yet emotionally loaded leading voice, Saint Luxury presents a collection of superbly written songs that each tie in somehow with the project’s underlying ideas.
The title track is the first full-length piece to emerge and leads with a quickly likable, uplifting Americana vibe that’s softened by these widely accessible, pop-inspired melodies, made all the more interesting for their underlying story-line.
Saint Luxury as a concept portrays this idea that we are fed certain societal norms and standards from the moment we’re born. There’s a fictional tale at work to explore these topics, the angel (Saint Luxury) visits Earth to find answers, and the songs throughout dig deep into this in a manner that’s widely relatable and beautifully thought provoking.
Balancing an almost Disney-like array of backing vocals, with a clearly skillful display of musicianship, the album pours through as if it were a Greatest Hits collection. Bad Chemicals follows the opener with equal warmth and an anthem-like hook section that impressively tips its hat to the likes of Coldplay.
Despite the underlying theme, any one of these songs can stand tall in its own right – Broke Royals know how to write a hit, and they know precisely how to perform it with vibrancy and authenticity. Songs like Love & Tatters break free of conceptual confines just briefly, offering up love and a sense of togetherness that’s easy to connect with.
The general style with which the band create seems heavily focused on creating energizing, welcoming ambiances; light guitar riffs rain down, snappy vocals create familiarity, and the full band sound offers something that’s quickly immersive.
While there’s a clear eclecticism to the project – Can’t Say leans towards indie-rock or pop-punk, then Direyes trickles through with deeply appealing lyrics, a shoulder-swaying vibe and a soulful, intimate melody that evolves into a bright and memorable hook – there are still multiple threads that hold the band’s sound together. For all of these reasons the album is an easy go-to and a playlist that seems to get better and better as it moves along. The lyrics are fascinating, occasionally feeling recognizable but then throwing in just enough curve-balls to intrigue and compel.
Born To Break is a stand-out song – perhaps for its big band feel, that Americana swagger that returns in full-force, or perhaps because it’s all at once musically entrancing, satisfying, and lyrically captivating. The World Is Ours afterwards ramps up the energy and fuses distortion and melody in a brilliantly infectious pop-punk manner. Another anthem that screams out for you to witness it in a live setting.
Love, Youth & Glory is subtly powerful, bringing together a David Gray style verse with a high energy set-up and a long-form melody-line; progressing perfectly into that anthemic, choir-led hook. Superb guitar-work sees things to an intensely ambient finish that envelops the listener and feels awesomely nostalgic.
It becomes quite difficult to select highlights or favourites from this playlist as it nears its end – the band really have compiled the best of the best, songs that are easy to enjoy and that simultaneously mean something – are intentional, curious, heartfelt. It makes for a notably valuable and worthy listening experience in full.
Towards the end, After All introduces a soft-rock ballad vibe that’s up close and personal. Then Testimonials redirects things drastically and sees chaotic and colourful piano work accompany a spoken word segment that directly reminds you of the album’s underlying concept.
God Bless Saint Luxury follows on with musical accuracy and proceeds to create one of the most engaging punk-pop soundscapes yet. Then you get the slow and seductive build up of This Is Really Happening to bring the project to a profoundly considerate finish. Gorgeous vocals lay out poetry and personal reflections in a stunning way, gently guiding you into the centre of what is one final moment of anthem-like unity. What a band. What an album. Absolutely worth looking out for.