If musicians were subject to rules of an NFL-style draft, Royal Headache's vocalist, a man who goes by the name Shogun, would be a first round pick. His voice has the wear of a life that hasn't always been an easy one to live. He's got soul. He's got effortless range. If he came in the age in the late '60s he could have fronted the Faces. In the '70s it would have been The Nerves or The Jam. And, if he came of age in the '80s, and really, really liked his booze, he could slide right into an outfit like the Replacements. In the grunge era, he would have sung like he had marbles in his mouth. Let's be glad Shogun is not active in 1995, but in 2015, where he sounds right at home in this scrappy four-piece, garage band from Sydney.
It's been far too long since we last heard from Sydney garage rockers, Royal Headache. Their debut album came out in 2011 in Australia, a year later hear in the States, and between then and now their recorded output consisted of a 7" for Matador Records' singles club. It was a sweet single, sure, but a voice like Shogun's, one of sandpaper and blue-eyed soul legends and lofty range, shouldn't be a secret held by Aussie rock aficionados. It needs to be heard.
Is it still dad rock if the band is young and the lead singer, Brittany Howard is an African-American woman? I'm serious about this. For as much as I listen to Sound & Color, the second album by Alabama Shakes, I can't shake the feeling that the classic Wilco burn is appropriate here.
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