ROYAL BANGS Flux Outside (Glassnote/Universal) Royal Bangs hit the Drake Monday (April 11). See listing. Rating: NNNN
It's easy to forget how unbearably precious and navel-gazing rock has become over the last decade - until you hear a band as joyously visceral as Royal Bangs. The Knoxville trio take bits of every contemporary trend (as well as some classic rock) and cram them into one song, but that sonic overload takes a back seat to their unrestrained energy and memorable melodies.
Flux Outside's everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach could have felt like a mess of unfocused hyperactivity but instead it's remarkably cohesive. Some might argue that they'd be better served by milking a single motif for three minutes, but the rush you get from their complex prog pop constructions can't be denied.
Lots of rock bands are borrowing from experimental music these days, but too often it feels like the listener is being lectured. In contrast, Flux Outside flies by effortlessly and still leaves you with choruses you'll be singing to yourself long after the disc ends.
Top track: Bull Elk