Royal Canoe – Hold Onto the Metal (Single Review)


Eccentricity can really make a song and judging by “Hold On To The Metal” Royal Canoe are nothing if not eccentric.

They virtually throw in the kitchen sink when it comes to percussion using bath tubs and rubbish bins, the usual drums and clapping, as well as doing the best vocals as drums since Spoon’s “Stay Don’t Go”. With that in mind the variety of different rhythms that are layered on each other feels completely appropriate given the large amount of things being hit.

This rhythmic quality is not restricted to the percussion; in fact the same could be said for every aspect of the track. Because of this the song is generally quite sparse, Royal Canoe rarely strum their guitars and their bassist’s careful placement really gives the track a very real groove. The song is constructed from samples allowing the band to go from a very sparse sound to a much more dense sound within a verse via harmonised backing vocals or a synthesizer.

With lines like, “don’t you sleep on the back shed, you wake up on a rooster shed” the song’s lyrics are rather oblique (perhaps even meaningless) but they’re delivered with such gleeful abandon it comes across as charming within the context of the song.

Off the back of this, their first UK single, I have no doubt Royal Canoe are going to be plagued with Animal Collective comparisons which while not bad does in no way tell the full story.  They certainly both carry a similar vibe but “Hold On To Your Metals” feels much more interested in rhythm than the Baltimore band have ever seemed to, a distinction that feels vital.

 Daoud Al-Janabi

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