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July 24, 2024

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Royal City
Alone At The Microphone (Three Gut Records)

By: Cam Lindsay

Picture the deserted, flat Canadian prairies on a cold, hard December's day and you may have a sense of the imagery that Royal City brings to the imagination. No, they're not from Saskatchewan, they're from the big city of Toronto, but there's something deep and richly Canadian in their music. It's quite possible that Neil Young's ghost inhabited the recording of this album, because it has that Harvest meets After The Gold Rush feel to it. Since, Mr. Young is still alive, that's likely not the case, but its fantastically nostalgic. Aaron Riches' voice is haunting and fragile, matching the sombre mood of the music. Moments like "Bad Luck", with its spirited guitar riff and simple chorus, or "Daisies", the feel-good, Dylan-esque hymn, give the record some energy, but for most of the listen, it's the down-tempo structure that makes the heart melt and the ears bleed for more. "You Are The Vine" is a brooding look back on something lost and mourned, capturing a sadness that is extremely beautiful and romantic. Deeply rich in Americana, but so unmistakably Canadian, Royal City are a the Great Canadian hope.
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