by Ryan Sorensen
It’s been a long road for Northern Royals to get here, but I think their fans are going to agree it was worth the wait. The band has been part of the local bar rock scene for some time now, originally performing as The Autopilots since 2013. In 2015 due to a bizarre name copyright claim, they had to rename the band. It was around then that frontman Evan Chandler decided to rebrand the band itself and really start to focus-in on what makes them unique.
Over the next few years, the newly-titled band slowly became modern rock royalty in the province, performing with larger artists such as Jet Set Satellite, The Lazys, Royal Tusk, The Bloodshots and Palaye Royale. With each line-up change the band grew stronger and slowly began to carve out their niche as being one of the strongest local hard rock acts in Manitoba. The debut, self-titled five-song EP is a perfect reflection of all their work to date.
Recorded in 2019 in Vancouver, and produced by legendary producer Garth Richardson (Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nickelback,) the Northern Royals album from a sonic perspective is gold. It is tailor-made to be major rock radio-friendly and has already been featured on Power 97. Each of the five songs would not sound out of place on any current modern rock playlist. The band sounds like a cross between The Glorious Sons and Bush, with a bit of Foo Fighters’ songwriting thrown in for good measure. The songs feature heavy crashing guitars, Chandler’s raw vocal power and a whole lot of fun. They were clearly constructed with their audience in mind, with the missing to make them head bang to every track.
‘Oh No’ is a stand out track, which has an infectious gang vocal hook that will stay stuck in your head for days. It is an anthem song in the making and something I can hear being shouted back by an adoring crowd at an arena near you in the near future. Other highlights include the dynamic album intro ‘Fools’ which features some outstanding work from drummer Codey Emms, and ‘Wild Ones’ the feel-good anathematic closer. Northern Royals is an intense, powerful listen that will be a must-have for fans of our local rock scene. After plotting their road to success so carefully over the past few years, the road is looking bright for Northern Royals and 2020 looks like it could be their banner year.