Big Bad Cake is latest LP from the self proclaimed shed rock band, The Royal Blue, out of Appleton, WI. The follow-up to their 2016 album Ramshackle Groove is full of familiar sounds, which makes it such an accessible album. The rhythm section of Jeff Taugner (Bass) and Jason Nelson (Drums) keep it simple, yet it’s a perfect foundation for these upbeat, danceable tunes. Karm Kerwell’s guitar stylings are a mixture of surfer rock, garage rock, and Pearl Jam’s more recent offerings. Kerwell’s lead vocals feel like a cross between Tom Petty and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. It’s a unique tone that really grows on you with repeated listens. Combine all of those aspects and it makes for a really great sound in what turns out to be some very catchy songs.
The album has many standout tunes. It kicks off with the title track “Big Bad Cake” which takes on food manufacturer’s, with an upbeat tone, nice guitar solo, and a catchy chorus. “Rip it Up” follows the same formula with equally rocking results! Taugner’s bass carries the listener through a tune like “Reveille”. The band’s musicianship really shines through in “The Disappearance” as they go for a much bigger sound, with a really nice riff. They also layered in some acoustic guitar, as Nelson’s drums really hold this song together well. The Royal Blue get their blues on with “You are Not for Real”. “Take Your Face” is a very Pettyish track with some great backing vocals. “Situation Sour” is a bouncy track that with some acoustic guitar on it, which really helps fill the song out. “Little Long Foot” brings the album home with a nice extended jam session for the last 3 minutes of the track.
Big Bad Cake is a really solid album with some really great songs. The Royal Blue are clearly a talented group. The songwriting is very strong and the musicianship is excellent. A lot of people are going to dig this record, especially the over 30 crowd. The songs are tight, upbeat, and fun. Listen to the album. You won’t be disappointed.