Newfoundland’s Scott Royle may have gotten off to a slow start—recording his debut album in 2015 after over a decade of playing—but he’s not wasting time now. His latest, Tennis Elbow, is a quick follow up to his two earlier releases.
It’s a (comparatively) fast release in more ways than one as Royle pounds out the pop punk tracks with more energy than his debut Sweat Shop Crop Top. There are no slow piano interludes as Tennis Elbow riffs along, drums crashing in contrast to Royle’s confident vocals.
Still, it’s not the end of jazzy touches, as Royle proves on “too soon.” Horns make an unexpected and unconventional appearance on the track, adding deep notes to the chorus and flair to the bridge.
It’s all rock again right after as “to the bone” charges along, one of Royle’s many guests chiming in playfully for the titular line in the chorus. Even “there’s a darkness,” which broodingly lives up to its name, can’t shake the edge of the new album’s raw sound.
“There’s a place inside of me/where the light can’t always reach,” he sings on the track, his knack for lyrics still shining through as the guitar wails—the kind of layered musical pairing that’s already won Royle praise.
It’s not so much a slowing down, as a changing pace on “sailor’s mouth.” Guitar notes are picked, joyfully accompanied by gentle percussion and a steady tapping that gives the track a warm, summer feeling to shake off the darkness.
“the boxer” cascades through the notes as a more thoughtful track, but Royle blazes onwards with a resurging horn on “comeback.” It’s only at the very end that Royle truly slows down, ending with the gloomy “mending feynmans broken heart,” illuminating some of what Royle still has to uncover.
Top Tracks: “to the bone”; “mending feynmans broken heart”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)