When I was 15, Royal Headache released their debut album. I wouldn’t hear it until I was 17, but by that point, I’d heard all the stories. The insane gigs. Their skull-hollowing intensity. The brutal and complete dedication that each member put into recording and performance. The first time I heard that album, it made me want to meet this band. It wasn’t the first, or last time, I’ve had that reaction upon hearing a band upon the first time, but it was particularly strong with Royal Headache. They put everything I wanted into a song – crunchy melody, maelstrom ferocity, simple songwriting that made you want to scream with ecstasy and stab yourself in the brain. Real, pure, unadulterated emotion.
Then Royal Headache disappeared. At least from my line of sight. It wasn’t the end of the world – there were still plenty of bands to enjoy and feast upon, especially in Sydney. There wasn’t exactly a drought. But there was always that gap that I knew I wasn’t going to get to experience, the Royal Headache pub show that seemed to have single-handedly inspired so many bands and projects that I currently adored.
A few weeks ago, Royal Headache played the Opera House. It was great, one of the best shows I’ve been to, ever. And then, they release this fucking gem. A gem it is, through and through. It’s rare, beautiful, and should be worn proudly. It’s shiny, brilliantly so. There’s too much good stuff to say about it.
But the thing that touches me most is how it carries the Royal Headache legacy. Not in the sense that “OH GOOD, YOU CAN PLAY A SONG”, but moreover in the fact that I know that the 17 year old shitbag Ryan would be thrashing his head just as much as the current shitbag Ryan is. Sure, “High” is an old song, but the fact that Royal Headache nailed every aspect of it onto record is a testament that they haven’t lost any of the magic that got me, and so many others, interested in the first place. All the elements of the band we know and love are there – the soul, the pain, the ability to make you press repeat until your fingers are bleeding – and I don’t think anyone is surprised. Just ecstatic. Welcome the fuck back, Royal Headache.