Her Royal Highness – Edinburgh – live review

Her Royal Highness
Edinburgh, Voodoo Rooms
8 June 2012

This Friday night triple bill at The Voodoo Rooms was headlined by Her Royal Highness with support by The Tide Inside and Muscle of Joy.

First up were The Tide Inside who turned in a more than capable set which drew heavily on Depeche Mode and Nick Cave through a haze of sonic distress and psyched out echoing vocals which with a little more tweaking and polish has great potential to be something very interesting indeed.

Unfortunately second band on the bill Muscle of Joy-who never quite managed to locate my funny bone- tried a little too hard to be interesting and original but somehow lost any sense of melody or structure along the way. The first number was interesting but after this it deteriorated into a marauding sense of indulgence which was only exacerbated by each band member changing instruments after each song thus further disrupting any sense of flow. The songs started to resemble incantations more than anything else and were all delivered in a po-faced manner and in effect became a little too obtuse to hold the audiences attention for their sets duration.

The night really belonged to a remade/remodelled Her Royal Highness though in their pursuit of a new direction from the stomping glam/electro hybrid they are renowned for.

Opening with the aptly named Intro the new direction and statement of intent was laid out briefly but very clearly. All dubby soundscapes, crashing dissonant guitars, Heatherettes hysterical vocals and discordant synths over squelchy electronic beats, they have managed to retain the Suicide/ Lene Lovich influences but dropped the uber-pop moments replacing them with post punk antagonism and more avant-garde leanings. This is only to their advantage however and they still manage to sound like Elvis Presley and Duane Eddy crashing at high speed into the Empire State Building armed with only electric guitars and modulators .

The set lurched its way around such numbers as Berlin, Small Town and Sleaze but by the time they reached midset number Miss U their swagger was unstoppable and any uncertainty they-or the audience- may have had about the new direction had dissipated and they rode magnificently onto the end of their set which climaxed with the saucy, minxed out Underwear.

Hopefully the audience’s reactions will encourage HRH to pursue their own artistic agenda and keep pushing forward. Already huge leaps forward from the last time I saw them are apparent and that is what it is all about. Isn’t it?

All words by David Marren. You can read more from David on LTW here.


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