The Royal We | GEOG31 | Released: 05/11/07
From her Los Angeles home, future Royal We singer, Jihae Simmons had an idealised image of Glasgow, mostly drawn from Orange Juice and Belle & Sebastian lyrics. She was looking forward to moving to a place which would be like an 'amazing tweeland' where everyone had a lot of respect for nature and buildings which they'd want to explain in cafes like in a Godard movie far from the scuzz of the LA music scene. Meanwhile, Patrick Doyle was on his way to university and had stopped off in Glasgow. 'It seemed more promising than where I was supposed to be going. Sunderland.' Roxanne Clifford had come to the city from Manchester to study art... and because the music scene was strong. Other Royal We personnel, Graeme Ronald, Joan Sweeney and Colin Kearney were already here, on the fringes of things, with Colin already a member of Eska, and various other groups.
Slowly, by the beginning of 2006 the group started identifying each other on the streets and at parties as possible collaborators, eventually rolling up as part of a 20-person super-session in Jihae's front room. Even for a conceptual group this was too much, and in the end there was a hardcore of six and they became the The Royal We. Jihae wanted it to sound glam and to be quite extreme. Other members had different ideas but all remember it as an exciting and fast-moving time, with songs coming together really quickly. The night they wrote All The Rage, they took over a party, plugging in a laptop and playing it over and over until they realised everyone else had left.
In a city like Glasgow, there's always an 'it' group - in recent times it was Franz Ferdinand and before that the Optimo club and before that Belle & Sebastian and so on. By summer 2006 The Royal We had become the 'it' group - everyone was talking about them and members were turning up on Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand covers and even the NME was into them. If that all sounds a little too hype, then ok, but The Royal We were the most fun in town; their shows had it down and they had great songs and a great sound. There's no doubt there's something pop about The Royal We but it's an older, odder kind of pop - the experimental pop of Orange Juice or ESG or even The Raincoats. In a way this is partly designed, the lyrics reference pop language, but mostly it's just exuberant brilliance which has carried The Royal We through.
This, their debut album features mostly songs written in their first six months of existence, their polaroid moment. It starts out slow and ends up in Chris Isaac's Wicked Game. In between are all the reasons The Royal We were and are completely special. They won't be making a second album, Jihae is moving back to LA in for one thing, other members of the group want to move on too. Meanwhile they're going to play some