In a lot of ways, the existence of The Royal Oui makes perfect sense. Adrienne Pierce, who appeared on the blog several years ago with her Oh Deer LP has long been making music, as has her husband, Ari Shine. A collaboration between the two seemed inevitable, and here it is.
As a boy-girl duo, Pierce and Shine have a lot of competition, and they distinguish themselves by describing them as what could sound like “the soundtrack to a quirky Wes Anderson love story starring Jason Schwarzman and Michelle Williams.” It’s a highly specific image and surprisingly apt, but what really makes The Royal Oui special is their earnestness with which they perform love songs, while spicing them up with at the occasional unexpected psychedelic flourishes.
To continue with the film thread for a moment, there are two songs especially that seem made for the movies. There’s closer “Montauk,” which should immediately conjure Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind images. It has a real air of finality, including the blunt like “This is the end of you and me,” and seems to bring the main conflict of the movie back to the forefront. The other song doesn’t bring a film to mind, but sounds straight out of a soundtrack, and that’s “Don’t You Think That I.” It’s the duo at their most sentimental, and it shows, with little backing them up besides an acoustic guitar.
Opener “Sirensong” has the best of both worlds, with a pleasantly gripping bit of electric guitar at the beginning, along with some faint pedal steel. “Give Up the Ghost” later makes the pedal steel much more noticeable and captures the sheer melancholy of the song even more.
“When You Lose Your Mind” and “True” are a bit more by-the-numbers folk-y tunes, but they’re followed by an album standout, “Dirty Snow,” which allows itself to be a bit more upbeat. The opening guitar wouldn’t sound out of place on an Elephant Stone record, and the song is infused with the same spirit that that band brings to every song.
Naturally, Pierce and Shine have an easy chemistry, and it comes across in every song. The Royal Oui may have found their niche.
The Royal Oui will be released on February 11, 2013, and is available for pre-order.
Top Tracks: “Dirty Snow”; “Don’t You Think That I”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)