The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster - The Royal

It’s a long way from a gothabilly rumble in Brighton to the stoner rock sands of the desert, and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster have gone the distance in champion style.

Richard Dyer

Date published: 6th Oct 2004


Album released 11th October 2004 - produced by Chris Goss on No Death / Universal:Island

It’s a long way from a gothabilly rumble in Brighton to the stoner rock sands of the desert, and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster have gone the distance in champion style. ‘The Royal Society’ was recorded over three months in California, initially in Sound City Studios in LA, birthplace of Nevermind. Then out into the Mohave Desert to Joshua Tree, where the ghost of Gram Parsons rubs a spiritual shoulder with the walking wounded of, relocated and recovering, city dopers, smokers, jokers and tokers.

‘The Royal Society’ is the sound of an exceptional band flexing newfound muscles, controlling the chaos, discovering a lyrical intensity and technical ability to match the passion of their music. They also found a spiritual adviser in Chris Goss, producer of the album, and cornerstone of Kyuss, Queens of The Stone Age and Masters of Reality, who says “Making ‘The Royal Society’ was a total gas, and very easy. Eighties Matchbox are now my favourite band in the whole world. Being in LA, we had many musicians visiting the studio; Josh Homme, Taylor Hawkins, Dave Grohl, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Twiggy Ramirez and Ian Astbury all passed through and were, without exception, blown away by the music we were creating.”

Blasting off with the epic single ‘Rise Of The Eagles’ “I wanna fly like an eagle, I wanna sing like Sinatra, I got a date with destruction, I wanna love like a mother”, the album is, in turns, a celebration, ‘When I Hear You Call My Name’, ‘The Dancing Girls’, a blast, ‘Migrate Migraine’, ‘The Fool’, ‘Mr Mental’, surreal, ‘I Could Be An Angle’ or just downright crazy, ‘Freud’s Black Muck’,“I get myself, I Sigmund Freud, I dig my teeth into the void.”

On ‘I Rejection’, Guy McKnight stretches to deliver one of the best rock vocals ever recorded, shrieking “Give me your heart ‘cos I feel like the tin man”, a tad more poetic that “I wanna fuck your mother” but just as full of life’s essence.

They’ve become cinematic too, with ‘Puppy Dogs Snails’ and ‘Drunk On The Blood’ lurching into territory more akin to Tim Burton and David Lynch than any band. There’s even a rare pensive moment in ‘Temple Music’ “And now I’ve ripped out your heart dear, I gotta throw it away, butterflies in my stomach, they try to flutter away”

Dropping the curtain to the epic ‘The Way Of The Men Of The Stuff’, “Raise your hand and proudly say, I have the stuff, I am the way – no retreat, no surrender, this is war” you can hear the sound of five young men who mean more than business, and are intent on defying expectations as to what a rock band is capable of being.

A courageous mix of personal self-doubt, musical self-belief and touring self-abuse, The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster have thrown themselves headlong at the difficult 2nd album here, and unlike most, totally pulled it off. More than a mere collection of songs, ‘The Royal Society’ delivers at every turn. For the most part, British rock is undeservedly underestimated and neglected around the world. But this Royal Society really deserves to be a national treasure