Better Royals unites pop singer Jenny B (seen on Broadway and Discovery Kids-TV), hit hip-hop artist Klokwize (‘A Little Respect’ with Suga Free), and the crew’s longtime live percussionist Rich Stone (heard with Polar Planet, Mission Transmission, Klokwize & more) for a festive Hip-Hop, House and EDM project designed for dance floors and drop tops. The collective’s self-titled debut EP features production from Grammy-nominated Bruno Mars producer ‘Uncle’ Dave Foreman, as well as legendary rapper Rakim’s son Tahmell Beats, Ant Quint, Miles Elliot, and Chris Azure. The 6 track “Better Royals” EP is unlike the gluey, glazy bedroom recordings that define the current electronic landscape, it takes pride in polishing its songs to a mirror shine.
Take the opening track “Midnight” a three and a half minute rhythm and groove kaleidoscope in which, amid an utterly exhilarating vocal scuttle, Better Royals deliver their welcoming lyric, “Come on and ride with me, ride with me. Come on and fly with me, fly with me.”
The song feels unmistakably crafted, sewn together in a studio and designed from the ground up to deliver the most stimulating listening experience possible. “Dance Floor” sounds like it was buzzed in from a cooler era, completely and happily influenced by the golden years of dance music development.
Better Royals infuse “Dance Floor” with smooth vocal harmonies and an urban rap edge. This blend of sweet and spicy sound, is totally alluring. By the time you hit play on the airy and expansive “How Many Times”, it’s clear that Jenny B has a voice that’s really hard to ignore.
It’s as modern as its nostalgic, and both penetrating and soothing at the same time. She is the perfect foil to Klokwize’s gruff n’ groovy flow. Although he is also very capable of throwing in his melodic crooning.
Which brings us to the lovelorn mid-tempo track, “Over + Under”, where the two singers just meld together so beautifully. Aligned with the hypnotizing beat laid down by Rich Stone, the vocals are what truly makes this track worth listening to.
When “Good Time” kicks in, it confirms that Better Royals has perfected the ability to make feel good hits with a cutting edge. They’re fun and easy to listen or to dance to, which proves they’ve nailed their niche. Their impressive telescoping of old influences and current backdrops is perfectly displayed here again.
A funky jangling guitar riff, a deep rolling bassline and party driving percussion, is a formula that Better Royals are able to execute with absolute ease. “Runaway” provides another sure sign that the trio are living in the moment just like their audiences, as they blend mellow lounge groove with street-wise hip-hop elements.
Undoubtedly fashionable, it’s impossible to deny that “Better Royals” is a tight, unified and filler-free recording. It also makes palpable the pop songsmith components in these electro-dance foundations. Energetic and groove-happy in most parts, with just enough soulful elements to create a record of brilliant diversity. This is definitely one of the best dance records to be released over the past year.