Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Monday, April 3, 2017

Brit Royal - Change (2017)



Twin brothers Kais and Mazin Oliver’s 2015 debut EP enlisted a bevy of top shelf music world talent like hit songwriter and producer Mikal Blue as well as JR Richards from the band Dishwalla. The debut led the duo to a successful string of concert appearances throughout continental Europe and the UK, including a well received and sold out live debut in their hometown London, but it’s their first full length album, London, that will further establish them among the most promising talents working today. The thirteen track release features a number of stunning performances and compositions but few are as impactful as the single “Change”. The Dream mix of this song has recently been released and it’s a dizzying example of what these brothers are capable of while retaining all the necessary artistry to inspire their audience and any new converts to their music. Like the remainder of the album’s songs, “Change” is infused with an appealing sound and real individuality.

It is also a spartan track of immense tastefulness. The song is primarily built around piano and vocals, but there are some light keyboard touches in the track providing a discreet amount of color. The vocals, however, are the undisputed star of this particular show. They land in all the right places and play off the backing track with great distinction while veering from artful understatement to resounding emotional high points without ever overwhelming the listener. The unique confluence of emotion, musicality, and a perfectly tailored vocal melody working in concert with the minimal backing is reminiscent, in some respects, of top shelf Brit pop from both the eighties and nineties, but Brit Royal have a completely contemporary sound that never embraces retro principles outright. Instead, they brandish their influences without ever being wholly beholden to them.

The track wraps up at the four minute mark and never feels overextended. The piano playing has a warm, wonderfully lyrical quality that looks to serve the song first rather than indulging in any sort of fake virtuosity. The cascading runs, the space created between the notes, and the elegance created from matching the piano with the vocal establishes a memorable mood from the first. There’s a bit of the ballad form suggested by this song, but the suggestion is never strained and the thoughtfulness of the track’s presentation will please longtime listeners and newcomers alike. The lyrics are rather notable as well. Brit Royal hit up some eternal verities and universal truths that have a strong personal connotation in the song, but will also resonate with a vast swath of the duo’s audience. Brit Royal make it all sound impressively easy, but long standing musical devotees will know and understand their talents are special and emanate from a place deep within. “Change” is intelligent pop the way it should be done – it isn’t aiming to hit the lowest common denominator and, instead, touches listeners in a honest way. The Oliver brothers are the sort of musical act who is built to last.

Written by: William Elgin



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