In This review I am going to attempt to review all three E.P volumes released by Royal Holland. The titles of the albums are Volume 1. The Maze, Volume 2. Flamingo, and Volume 3. Program. By having three separate releases you would think that each album may or would follow a certain sound or vibe but that is not the case here. Royal Holland proves that each song has its own life and sound. Take The Maze for example the album starts off with the upbeat, dance pop sound of “Devil’s Night”, when I first listened to the album I assumed this what I was going to be listening to for the entire E.P, then “Statues” began to play. The dark Folk/Country Song. “Statues” is a song I like a lot, I’m drawn towards the attitude more than anything else in the song. The deeper and darker sound is what makes this song stand out for me. The vocals are also picked up in tone and attitude as well, but not all the way through the song Royal Holland mixes it up a bit hitting a higher end as well and it works out well in the song. The backing vocals are also a nice touch to the song. The guitar playing just after the 2:30 mark is something that you need to check out. I know I replayed this sequence a couple of times over after my first listen through The Maze. The title track “The Maze” and “Shore” are a dark pop/rock touch to the album. They are both very different songs in part. “Twin Rivers” finishes off The Maze E.P quite differently than the previous two tracks. In “Twin Rivers” Your ears are treated to a soothing acoustic folk/country sound which is accompanied by a ever satisfying harmonica sound also with Lead vocals and later on male/female harmonies to match. I also have to add that the bass in the song really helps the song create a steady flowing sound as well throughout the song. The snare is cleverly used in the song and doesn’t contend with the guitar or vocals in the song.
On the Flamingo Ep. The sound of Royal Holland differs from the previous album The Maze, Even the recording in general sounds different. There still is the acoustic element throughout the E.P. The opening track “The Grave”, adds a bit of a psychedelic atmospheric sound which is mostly brought on from the electric guitar that is overlayed onto the track. The backing harmonies in “The Grave” also adds to this element. Then to finish off the song Royal Holland turns the volume and energy right up and finishes off in a Matt Mays and El Torpedo fashion. “Flamingo” is an interesting song, you may have to listen to the song a couple of times to take everything in. The keys is a definite powerline in the track, The electric guitar adds a nice layer on to the track especially with raw tone that is being used. “Polaroid Blues” has indie rock elements threaded throughout the track. The intro lightly defines the song in a short distance, Throughout the song you can find elements of the intro hidden in the song. The Electric guitar takes the song away. The vocals are changed up quite frequently in the song and actually goes into a higher pitch to finish off the song. To Finish off the E.P “The Mundane Lives” moves into more of a pop/rock feel. The mid range vocals comparative to the rest of the album blends nicely with the guitars. The pop element definitely arrives throughout the bridges in the song and disappears during the verses.
The Program E.P starts off on a bit of a darker note with the track “Demimonde”. The tempo of the track is also down in comparison to the previous E.p’s. “The Program (Is Bound To)” almost secures my opinion throughout listening to all of the tracks so far that there is a definite Beatles Element and influence that Royal Holland blends into his music. “The Golem Effect” lost me due to the vocals in the track, the acoustic playing sounds great. It’s just vocals that I can’t get over in the track. To finish off the three E.P set a Yiddish/Gypsy acoustic pop song does the job. I will admit right away that the addition of the track to the E.P is quite different from everything else that has appeared so far.