Die Young With Me
With a heaping dose of nostalgia fuelling their straight-ahead rock and melodic punk, Nashville's Blacklist Royals sound like a regional opener for the Gaslight Anthem/Against Me! tour hitting the medium-size venue through the Midwest: With some old-school rock ’n’ roll vibes to the songs, cuts like opening duo “Righteous Child” (which sounds like a cross between the Loved Ones and the Menzingers) and “Missing Something” bash and crash, keeping things polite but earnest, rocking but in a clean-cut way. Elsewhere, there's influence from forlorn greats of songwriting like Paul Westerberg (“Common Things,” “Skeleton Crew”) and the album highlight, the wistful “Twenty Six And Gone,” where the band show their age talking about cassettes and shows featuring just local bands in a way that only those who have been there can understand. “Hearts On Fire” shows these guys know who's the Boss with some Springsteen influence.
While Blacklist Royals have shown a great maturity and depth on their second album, there's still a bit of tentativeness to it all: Sometimes the singing is too restrained, and the drumming is so non-descript it's practically not there. But all in all, it's a powerful and moving album, one that takes you to places immediately upon first listen, which is actually pretty special.