You can’t help but wonder if Royal City were transfixed by a metronome whilst recording Little Heart’s Ease. That is, a metronome with only three settings; relaxed, very relaxed and comatose. The extent of their excitement peaks with She Will Come’s Gospel Choir-esq handclapping. Yet there is a dreamy element about Royal City. We’re not talking the candy-floss-and-roller-coaster-ride spasmodic hallucinations of the Delay’s Seaside Glamour. Instead, the band’s retro inclinations combined with Aaron Riches’ quavering vocals leave you trapped in a Charlie Chaplin film; enthralled by the concept, but at times frustrated by the lack of colour.
Royal City have developed a smoother, more polished sound since the ir previous Alone at the Microphone, but their melancholy still fails to rival The Eels, and in Cabbage Rolls you can’t help but wonder if they’ve coined their lyrics from a Dolly Parton B-side (“Hoho, Baby don’t go/ Stay with your man tonight”). But surely, this is subtle irony, and behind irony lays a magnificent band. Or at least a melodic cure for insomnia.