Update: Since this article has been publish, I’ve had several sources confirm that John and Paul Thornley of U.S. Royalty did start out in Warsaw (though the brothers are originally from Maryland). They previously performed under the moniker New Harbour.
Last weekend I hung out with a guy who introduced me to U.S. Royalty. He claims the band, which is now based out of Washington, D.C., started out right here in Warsaw.
Now, I haven’t been able to verify that. What I did find though, is that U.S. Royalty put out an album on Jan. 21 called “Blue Sunshine,” and it happens to be quite good.
U.S. Royalty play indie rock music that’s infused with some folk and Americana aesthetics. And the significance of a catchy hook is not lost on these guys.
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Take for example the lead track, “Into The Thicket,” which opens with a rolling acoustic guitar passage. Singer John Thornley spouts off a yearning verse, and with the swell of a crash cymbal, the song crescendos into the kind of chorus you might expect from U2.
There’s also quite a few nods to 80s alternative music in “Blue Sunshine.” Some of the songs channel The Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen; others have the soaring pop sensibilities of the aforementioned U2, like on “Slow Magic,” with it’s Nu-Wave synths, lazily strummed acoustic guitar, and sing-a-long chorus.
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Elsewhere on the album, the band cranks out the sort of leather-clad blues (“Lady in Waiting”) that put Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on the map. Then there’s the haunting guitar instrumental, “De Profundis,” which showcases guitarist Paul Thornley’s immense talent.
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In the bio on the U.S. Royalty’s website, Jeremy Mohler writes, “‘Blue Sunshine’ can be read against the narrative content of [Terrence] Malick’s masterpiece ‘Days Of Heaven.’ The characters in the film seem forever in flight, either running from the law or chasing inheritance money, but they’re also pulled in by America’s gorgeous open spaces and limitless opportunity, somehow finding comfort in the swirling change around them.”
That might be overstating it a little bit, but “Blue Sunshine” is a solid album. At it’s core, it’s classic rock ‘n’ roll, but the band successfully spice it up with tinges of folk, pop, Nu-wave and blues, making for a really fun, interesting record.