Royal Bangs @ The Rhythm Room

You have to figure with the pedigree Knoxville, Tennessee's Royal Bangs has going for them — their first albums were on Black Key Patrick Carney's Audio Eagle Records; their new one, Flux Outside, is on Glassnote, home of the inexplicably popular railroad-fan band, Mumford & Sons — that they must be on the verge of becoming big stars. But if that's their plan, they're going about it a weird way, dropping two members and getting louder in the process. Still, the band's new album is an intriguing blur of smashed- together songs. Produced by Scott Minor, formerly of Sparklehorse, and mixed by Flaming Lips/Mercury Rev cohort Dave Fridmann, the record pushes some of the charming electronic sounds of their earlier material to the background for a raw, mixed-up version of Southern-influenced glam rock. The synths fight and elbow the other instruments, working their way to the front of the mix. Occasionally, the album slows enough to give the listener a chance to catch his or her breath, but the live show may not allow such an opportunity, as the group's energy generally seems to almost overwhelm them when they're on stage.

 
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