Single Review: Royal Bloom – Bittersweet

by Kieran Cannon

Ayrshire’s premier grunge group Royal Bloom have dropped their latest single Bittersweet, the first new release of 2020. Beginning with last year’s Flakes of Snow, the band have been drip-feeding us tracks throughout the build-up to their hotly anticipated debut album, tipped for release later in the year. Check out their latest offering below.

It’s fair to say Royal Bloom have put in a shift. Since their inception in 2016, they’ve played countless local venues and a growing number of gigs further afield – from Glasgow to Newcastle to Manchester. Their hard work and musical pedigree has earned plaudits from critics – including a feature on Stencil Mag alongside metal heavyweights Korn and Alter Bridge – and they’ve amassed a dedicated core group of fans.

On Bittersweet, there are clear signs of musical progression since debut EP Under the Bridge. Arguably this is the most complete package yet from the three-piece outfit, striking the ideal balance between punchy and catchy. The arrival of drummer Kyle McKnight has injected a different sort of energy into their music; an even greater sense of urgency.

There are still elements of the group’s DIY ethos but production-wise this is the real deal, lending adequate room to every instrument. The drumming is frenetic and Aaron Dick’s basslines deliver plenty of delicious low-end thumpiness, but at no point are the vocals or guitar sacrificed in the mix.

[ photo credit: Will Downe ]

Speaking of which, singer/guitarist Lewis Wise demonstrates his impressive vocal range here: restrained during the verses before letting rip in the chorus. Opening line “Welcome to ‘it’s the time of a life’ time” is a rather clever turn of phrase which could be interpreted as a keen observation on being in your twenties – ultimately a bittersweet experience for most.

Royal Bloom have continued on their upwards trajectory with a track that’s slick enough to earn radio airplay but edgy enough to appeal to long-term fans. While the group’s influences span a wide selection of alt-rock torchbearers – Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters – they’re well on their way to forging a style of their own. It’s still early days, but what we’ve heard so far bodes well for the upcoming album.


Instagram: royalbloomofficial

Facebook: @RoyalBloom.UK

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