Described as an “adrenaline-fueled, rock n’ roll circus”, Canadian-American Rockers Paylaye Royale are no strangers to flamboyancy, and this their most recent offering The Bastards proves that. The band and their cult following embrace the essence of rock and punk in a way many new bands fail to do so.
The Bastards opening track is ‘Little Bastards’, a catchy song that talks of fake friendships and is both vulnerable and courageous. The three and a half minute song is meant to set listeners up for the rest of the album according to the band, and it does so nicely. They encapsulate the feelings of the many in an artistic expression of our current state of self-isolation and what happens when toxic society begins to drip through into individual bubbles. The song finishes suddenly, and we go straight into ‘Massacre, The New American Dream’, a song that many may know already.
The three brothers, Remington Leith (lead vocals), Sebastian Danzig (guitar, keyboards), and Emerson Barrett (drums and piano), touch on some pretty intense subject matters. The band makes no secret of how track ‘Lonely’ is a perfect reflection of the complicated and deeply personal issues such as childhood abandonment, mental health issues, and drug use.
Talking about ‘Lonely’, Leith said, “[it’s] about the mental and physical abuse I endured as a child. Growing up, I went through so much shit, and at points felt so low I couldn’t see a way out. It has affected me deeply throughout my life, but I want the world to know that no matter what you’re going through, if I can make it out on the other side, so can you.”
This album is one that you can listen to from beginning to end and not find a bad song, in fact, it gets better and better as it works its way through several acts. Stand out tracks include ‘Nightmares’, an anthemic song which has wonderfully distorted guitars. This track, like many of the songs, makes your mind wander into huge stadiums, and impressive stage shows that we may not be able to see for a very long time. ‘Black Sheep’ is full-on melodic pop with guitar-driven riffs. A song which can only be described as catchy, it will definitely hook you in, but don’t worry as you won’t be left dangling, the rest of the album refuses to disappoint.
The brothers had been teasing this, their third studio album, since last year in a utopian world created by the group. The Bastards is set in a place that is a reflection of their own lives, in a mythological sense.
“It takes place around the island of Obsidian, and it’s set in 1888. In short, it’s a world that started off with intentions where the island encouraged free thinkers and artists to exist and, as everything does in life, eventually it becomes this political power and evil toxicity that comes with everything,” said Barrett. “To remain a true individual in the society, you must wear a gas mask,” he continued.
There is no doubt you will be thrust into this utopian world, and it’s one that’s full of exciting twists and turns, lyrically and musically. It’s no wonder that people have likened the band to My Chemical Romance, who are always very good at creating their own worlds and transporting the audience there. Perhaps the band have a little way to go before they hit MCR heights, but they are well on their way.