Her Royal Highness
‘Ooooh baby, I think I’m falling in love’ cooed Heatherette during a number at Her Royal Highness’s most recent gig at the Voodoo Rooms merely reflecting the thoughts of the loyal subjects making up her adoring audience. The essence of that line encapsulates what lies at the core of Her Royal Highness and should go some way to consolidating their success.
But a deeper understanding of what should guarantee this success can be attained by taking a closer look at the shaping of the band. A bubbling cauldron of influences that take disparate parts of pop perfection infused with nostalgic leanings then driven through with a juggernaut precision that whooshes and whirls the remnants hurtling into a not so distant future. All wrapped up with slinky, sulky malevolence delivered with a Duane Eddy twang over groovaliscious rhythms that sound like they were secretly masterminded during late night sessions between Prince, Alan Vega and Marc Bolan in some valiant attempt to outdo each other on the ‘who was born to boogie most’ score. Add to this the perfect visual foil of the three inhabitants of this glam/punk/pop hybrid and sheer glittering pop nirvana can be grasped with bejewelled velvet gloves.
Commanding centre stage Heatherette manages to convey a presence that is simultaneously dominant and vulnerable. Emotions rigid and fluid escape from her lips and somehow melts into our hearts with vocals that snarl, whoop, and seduce in equal measure. She doesn’t so much sing a song as coil her way around a melody to insinuate some deeper, darker more delicious meaning from its core. Titles such as ‘Cut You with a Razor’, ‘Pinky Ring’. ‘Small Town’, ‘Make Monsters’ and ‘One Night in Berlin’ give some indication of the divine decadence on display here. Set highlight though is ‘I Miss You Now’ with lyrics plaintively mourning ‘The future stings my eyes/ I’m only seeing black/ I miss you now, now, now’ followed by the beautiful kiss off line, a declamatory ’Maybe not forever baby.’ Aaah the archness of yearning and learning delivered in one fell swoop is a moment of sheer bliss and the ultimate female revenge motif.
Driving this glittering carriage are Leon and Jim the Modulator who are no slouches in the visual and aural departments. Floppy blonde haired Leon manages to incorporate crunching, dissonant rhythm guitar that alternates with the futuristic twang of Duane Eddy synthesized during a crash landing into the Empire State building. The Modulator meanwhile coaxes and teases emotional aural soundscapes around both the guitar and vocal creating a throbbing, pulsing, multicoloured confection that assists each number in gathering mo-mo-momentum, providing the visceral electric lightning jolts that birth the beautiful monster into being all the while maintaining the visual superiority of a rock and roll professor.
This is rock and roll 21st century style with every component stripped back and lurching forward in an aural onslaught for the senses. It is the manifestation of a world where style, poise, elegance and glamour collide to co-exist with dirty beats, sonic swirls, crunching guitars and a wayward vocal styling to create a totally irresistible cocktail. The last chord dissipates over a fever hungry crowd that has collectively melted into a modern day Oliver Twist begging for more, more, more. So bow down in reverence and practise your curtsies Her Royal Highness are coming to town with a royally commanding performance. Ooooh baby I think I’m falling in love, indeed!