Her Royal Harness – The Hunting Room (Album Review)

Someone call TK Maxx (or whoever else advertises on TV), cold wave duo Her Royal Harness have put together the music they should be using on the adverts for new collections. The Hunting Room seems designed to be coupled with something, not listened to on its own. From the military drum beat of ‘Mercenary Man’ to the pulsing beat of ‘Factories’, it’s all the perfect background for convincing people they need to be fashionable. While this may seem an odd critique, it is completely understandable. Well, at least it feels like there’s some purpose to it as, while it may be different from what you’d usually hear on the radio, it isn’t a masterpiece.

If track 1 isn’t to your taste, nothing on the album will be, so that’s a nice time saver. With each song, the music feels interchangable, like it wasn’t carefully considered for individual lyrics at all. Perhaps the lyrics weren’t thought out either. Y’know when you’re not sure of the words to a song but you already committed yourself to singing along, so you just mumble along to the rhythm? The Hunting Room suffers a lot from this all the way through. Notably on ‘Mercenary Man’ and ‘Colour Me’,the latter of which sounds too much like ‘”Call me” and it’s like they made no effort for this not to be the case.

‘Unseen’ is a bit of an odd one. At first, it sounds like the theme for a kids’ TV show, then uses a recurring beat that sounds like the machines in hospitals that measure your heart rate. It’s quite an uncomfortable sound, so congratulations to the duo on that…even if if it wasn’t intentional.

‘I Can’t Believe’…how much use drum machines/the drums on music software are. Hilarious jokes aside, there’s a rattle to the beat that makes it sound so fake but it still manages to be the best song of the lot, even with constant repetition of the phrase “I can’t believe” without real clarification on what she can’t believe- probably something about a relationship. And there’s actual/ mumbling/ humming, which somehow justifies a little of the rest.

In some rare cases, vocals that are a little difficult to understand doesn’t get in the way of a band’s success. Heck, Smells Like Teen Spirit is basically just shouting but it still makes it to almost everyone’s music collection. Unfortunately, singer Helene Jaeger’s voice has another problem. It  sounds so autotuned that it’s like it was created by a computer from scratch. Sheer, unrestrained emotion is not exactly abundant.

As a credit to them, there is a hint of diversity. If you were told ‘Bear in a Trap’ was by a different band, you’d probably believe it. When listening again ti double check, be sure not to turn it up too loud, the bass is working overtime and may be too much for some speakers.

Want an example of how good the lyrics are when they’re clear? ‘Submission’ starts with a load of words that rhyme with “submission”. That should be all you need to know.

The more you listen to it, the better it is but you should at least be left wanting to listen to it again. Maybe people with a lot of free time will find themselves praising the album more than those who are always busy and could only dedicate their time to one chance. For all the negativity there is to be found, there is clear potential and, if they build on it, a future in music.

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