Broke Royals – The Luxury of Time Pt. 3


It’s heartening to find a young musical unit so committed to aiming higher than most. Broke Royals have an abundance of talent at their disposal and could content themselves with released perfectly respectable and solid pop rock material, but instead, the duo of Philip Basnight and Colin Cross are reaching for something much more ambitious. The six songs on their latest EP release are fully realized pieces with developed lyrical and musical points of view. Despite their status as a duo, Broke Royals produce layered songs with synthesizers and keyboards a significant part of the foundation. Their rock inclinations are on full display as well – the band’s assertive drumming, in particular, keeps the music often powerful and muscular.

The EP’s opening song, however, focuses much more on the duo’s affinity for synth propelled soundscapes. “On My Own” is, essentially, a rather straightforward and simple song that the Broke Royals’ keyboard laden vision spins into a miniature epic. One of the duo’s strongest suits as both a songwriting and recording tandem is their penchant for incorporating big harmonies into their songs. Despite their outsized presence here and elsewhere, Broke Royals maintains a light touch – the harmonies are never arbitrarily applied or geared in such a way they overwhelm the song. “New Suns” affords the duo their first real chance for showing rock and roll attitude. It doesn’t disappoint. There’s a steady energy from the outset generated by the song’s uptempo pace and hard-driving percussion drives the track hard. The keyboard textures are rarely omnipresent – they are, instead, arranged as added color. There’s a similar mid-tempo vibe fueling “Young Tigers”, but it’s a little more relaxed than its predecessors and the instrumental voices are arranged in such a way that the track is airier somehow, less cluttered. Guitars ring out and push against the synthesized swell rising out of the mix from the first seconds on.

The tumbling beat of “Love, Youth, & Glory” matches the romping guitars well, but it’s the vocals that, once again, are the final icing on Broke Royals’ confection. This is one of the EP’s liveliest songs and, despite its relatively short duration, plays in quite a theatrical and dramatic way. The Luxury of Time Pt. 3’s final full song, “Heartless Come Around”, is the EP’s longest track at nearly four minutes in length and finds a compelling balance between the duo’s love for electronica and their wont for letting brawny rock leanings to come through. It’s clear that, at least in some respects, Broke Royals aimed this song to close the EP for very specific reasons, but some songwriting weaknesses dilute its impact. The song never crescendos in a satisfying way.

It doesn’t matter, ultimately. The EP’s good points far outnumber its weaknesses and those slack spots in its presentation are, like most things, a matter of stylistic preference. Basnight and Cross are wildly talented musicians and songwriters whose talents have only just begun to blossom. We are certain to hear more from Broke Royals soon enough and it will doubtless far surpass even this exciting release.

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8 out of 10 stars.

Wayne Toole