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Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Royaltons - Secret Codes

The Royaltons - Secret Codes
2009, The Royaltons

Cleveland, Ohio’s The Royaltons came together in a most modern fashion. Vocalist Dale DeLong met multi-instrumentalist Will Hooper via Craigslist. Instant chemistry drew in bassist Tim Czaijka and drummer Steve Crobar, completing the lineup The Royaltons have today. With an energy level in live shows that have made them local favorites in Cleveland, The Royaltons take over the stage and command attention. The Royaltons released their debut CD, Secret Codes in 2009.

Secret Codes opens with the unpolished, down-tempo title track. Embellished with a deep 1960's garage aesthetic, "Secret Codes" is tangential and obtuse. "Evil Eye" stays with the 1960's garage sound but has more of a pop sensibility and a catchy arrangement that will get your toes tapping. "Like It Or Not" is full of nervous energy and angst and topped off with a memorable chorus. "Criminal" is the most radio-ready track on the disc; probably not a huge hit but good enough to exact moderate airplay and builds The Royaltons a real following. "More" is just Dale DeLong and guitar in a dynamic solo performance worth taking in. "Young Soul" is a plodding, brooding rocker with a solid melody line that's perhaps the most ambitious songwriting on the album. Secret Codes closes with "I Don't Need Your Light". The song starts well, but the chorus is emblematic of how a great riff and one great line can turn into a bland experience when both are taken for granted. The song ends up sounding whiney (in the vocal) and in spite of solid energy never really gets airborne.

The Royaltons show signs of real musical life on Secret Codes. Playing in the backwoods of garage rock and grunge but aiming for the melodic purity of bands like U2, The Royaltons are knocking on the door something unique. Secret Codes illustrates progress, but The Royaltons haven't quite put it all together yet. If and when they do, look out. For the time being, Secret Codes is solid progress.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about The Royaltons at Codes is available as both CD and Download from  You can also find Secret Codes on CD from

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