Cosmic American Heartthrob Blues is the recently released debut EP from The Royal Wigs, a multi-genre outfit with country leanings. Though the members hail from Michigan and Maryland, their sounds and lyrics tend to venture south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The opening track, “White Line Fever,” begins with some percussive, palm muted guitar chords. It seems the song is flirting on the brink of a barroom brawl type explosion, but a different sort of sentiment takes effect.
Though initially the mention of these destructive “white lines” seems to pertain to the abuse of powder narcotics, “white lines” is actually a Keith Richards phrase relating to musicians who spend too much time on the road, and end up losing their minds, their souls, or both.
A pervading sense of restlessness lurks over track 2, “Leaving New York City.” The lyrics make Jack Kerouac seem like a homebody: “maybe I’ll head to California,” “maybe I’ll head down to Virginia,” “maybe I’ll head up to Chicago,” etc.
At around 3:20, the vocals become real passionate. Then a fine guitar solo takes the forefront. The song’s conclusion takes on a rather somber mood: “We’re all just prisoners of that lonely road / And I’m still getting old…getting old…on that lonely road…”[youtube qpj0kUNsDYI]
During track 3, “Laurel Canyon Hangover Blues,” it dawned on the reviewer that The Royal Wigs are somewhat reminiscent of Seven Mary Three (of such fine, brooding pieces as “Cumbersome” and “Water’s Edge”).
Track 4, “Oh, My Soul,” brings a nostalgic longing for old. Things have changed, and not for the better. Just when one might classify this song as a country lament, it merges into alt rock (at around 2:50). Then, 30 seconds later, it’s now acid trip time, as the sound turns all psychedelic, and there is an invocation of that notorious “yellow submarine.”
The EP’s fifth and final track, “It’s Over Now,” presents a jaded voice from a weary heart. The lyrics are eminently mournful: “Sold everything / gave back a wedding ring…looks like it’s over now.” In this tune of resignation, there is no hostility, just the apathy of despair.
Less desperate are the prospects of The Royal Wigs, as the EP showcases considerable talent.
To browse and purchase Cosmic American Heartthrob Blues, head straight to: http://royalwigs.bandcamp.com/
The Royal Wigs can also be accessed on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRoyalWigs
Ray Cavanaugh – email@example.com