I reviewed Grande Royale’s last release a year ago, almost to the day. That album Take It Easy had a distinctly southern rock flavour to it, being packed with great tuneful chunks of classic but contemporary southern rock, juicy riffs, great lead licks, melodic vocals and thundering bass lines, with plenty of variety along the way, the band not being afraid to mix things up with added brass section, soul-based choir and vintage pop harmonies. In fact, I was moved to make the point that Grande Royale stood out from most of the rock scene in Scandanavia which was and still is akin to a sort of “newer wave Power Pop” – not that there’s anything wrong with that!
The band is a classic four-piece, with Gustave Wremer on lead vocals and guitar, Andreas Jena on guitar, Johan Hall in drums and Sam Georgsson on bass. The band’s roots are sunk in the early 70’s rock scene of Detroit and the 90’s rock scene in Scandinavia, mixed up with some vintage pop. Carry On is their fourth studio album, the band having been around since 2014 and formed in Jönköping, Sweden. Their debut was released that same year (Cygne Noire), followed by 2015’s No Fuss – A Piece By Resolute Men, with a pause for extensive touring before releasing Breaking News in 2017. Following the release of that album, guitarist Gustav Wremer took over lead vocal duties in the band, to good effect it has to be said, as demonstrated on Take It Easy (this actually released in Sweden in 2019)
For this latest release on The Sign Records, due out on on 26 March 2021, Grande Royale have applied a more raw, more back to basics approach, keeping production simple while focusing on strong and catchy material. It’s an energetic and straight-forward take on garage rock, whilst still keeping clear melodies, tuneful riffs, and a punchy rhythm section inspired by 90’s rock – in fact there’s a strong resemblance to The Offspring and Green Day in particular – an impressive pedigree!
Vocalist Gustav Wremer sings with more grit than on previous albums, adding a ton of attitude to the new songs. Gustav says of their latest work: “On our previous record Take it Easy we experimented a lot with different instruments and sounds to challenge ourselves. For us, that was a bit unusual and it stands out from our other albums. On Carry On we’re focusing on what we’re best at – dirty garage rock n roll. We’ve basically recorded and produced the entire record ourselves. I think it ended up great. No fuzz, no muss, just rock!”
The album’s opener is Troublemaker, which pretty much sets the tone and Offspring-like sound for the rest of the album. Pacey, a decent riff, strong vocals and harmonies, powerhouse rhythm, all packed into two minutes and twenty seconds! One Of A Kind follows the same formula, with a nicely tasty lead bridge section. Third up is Bang, featured in the video below – this lot sound and look like they’re enjoying their rock’n’roll, deep and meaningful it ain’t!
There’s another eight tracks on here, all of a kind so there’s perhaps less variety in their compositions and production than before – but that’s the point, this is a no-frills, relentlessly bouncy, thoroughly enjoyable slab of Power Pop with quality tunes, vocals and riffs that The Offspring for one would be proud of! The track Headbanger’s Ball sums things up very nicely – and I bet a Grande Royale gig is really great fun!