Kent’s Theatre Royal have released all 22 singles dating from 2010 to 2018 via bandcamp. It’s proof just how this decade has been under documented for new bands. Much like Sheffield’s The Crookes and The Heartbreaks, they have the ability to write alternative 3min pop songs as naturally as the sun rises.
As a result, we undertook the unenviable task of producing our top 5 singles from this faultless collection:
French Riviera 1988
Escapism for the industrial estuary towns has never sounded so exuberant. The human condition on display for all to fall in love with. Yearning to belong somewhere out of reach should be a downbeat and crushed affair right? Nope!
Our Medway friends are made that much more heroic by saddling up and charging towards their dream land.
Locked Together on the Lines
This is the true story of front man Oliver’s Nan discovering a sailor and a prostitute laying together, dead, at Chatham’s war memorial. Rightly lauded by Steve Lamacq, it recalls Mike Leigh or Alan Clarke dramas at their best. Heartfelt and gritty, it oozes charm and great characterisation.
As the guitars shimmer to a climax, The Pale Fountains and Jasmine Minks come roaring to the surface on this pop triumph.
Standing in the Land
Despite unknown to the masses Theatre Royal are blessed as a band. They can write great and meaningful pop songs, as this singles collection will attest to.
On ‘Standing In The Land’, they change tact and deliver one of the bravest lyrics of the decade. Tackling the migrant crisis from a loving and reasoned view point is to be lauded. Especially back in 2017 with David “hides in his shed” Cameron describing them as “swarm of migrants”.
It goes further than just providing an emotive response. It offers an intellectual viewpoint, asking the difficult questions about Britain’s part in the crisis that emerged. The beautiful harmonies chime away as this kitchen sink drama conversation unfurls like an inspired piece of Morrissey song writing.
If You Could Stand Up
“Kent's 21st Century Robert Forster & Grant McLennan. Purveyors of timeless guitar pop classics.”
John Kennedy, X-Posure, Radio X
It combines the relentlessness of the The Jam and mod hooks of The Prisoners with their love of the C86 movement. It’s arguably the sweetest spot they have struck upon sonically. The earthy horns of latter day The Jam and the opulent harmonies are so effortless it’s impossible not to get washed out to sea on this pop riot.
Caught Me At The Wrong Line
A cross between their idols The Go-Betweens and their hometown heroes The Claim, Theatre Royal demonstrate alternative pop can still melt hearts.
The spritely and pop hook laden The Go-Betweens guitars saunter along carefree whilst Oliver delivers his finest vocal to date. Infectious as Edwyn Collins and defiant as Mick Head, it’s the perfect counter to the sun kissed guitars.
Friday 2nd August marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music. Tickets available here: