Album Review: Royal Teeth — Amateurs EP

Founded in 2010, Indie Pop group Royal Teeth are back with a new EP, Amateurs. The Louisiana band consists of Gary Larsen, Nora Patterson, Josh Hefner, and Thomas Onebane. Amateurs is their third studio release, after 2012’s fabulous debut Act Naturally, and 2013’s Glow.

The band turns up the electronics and editing on this EP, straying from their more acoustic, indie routes for a more pop-heavy release.

1. “Kids Conspire” — 5/10

“Kids Conspire” has some nice aspects — the vocals are solid and the dynamics are really well done, as is the instrumentation. However, the chorus is so incredibly repetitive and mundane that I soon lost interest. “Take me all the way up,” Patterson and Larsen sing, on and on and on…

2. “Is It Just Me” — 6/10

“Is It Just Me” is an upbeat, youthful, bouncy pop number that seems to try to regain the glory of Royal Teeth’s older tracks, like “Wild” or “Act Naturally” but falls short . The track has really nice percussion as the lyrics question aloud whether a suitor reciprocates attraction. While the repetition on the chorus is perhaps intended to indicate the narrator’s obsession with this new flame, this seems poor justification for what soon just becomes more redundancy. If Royal Teeth are just going to repeat pop hooks again and again, they definitely need to find more interesting hooks to work with.

3. “Paper Cut” — 6/10

“Paper Cut” is a cute duet with some nonsensical lyrics. Yet again, Royal Teeth’s solution for a chorus is to repeat the same phrase over and over again. However, this track earns bonus points for shaking it up with more interesting guitar-driven instrumentation, and for finally making the contrived, youthful vibe the band seems to be going for feel slightly more authentic.

4. “Amateurs” — 8/10

“Amateurs” interestingly juxtaposes youthful love with a sense of impending demise. This peppy track provides the best chorus on the EP thus far, but yet again the lyrics are stilted and lacking — “I have dreams and they are gigantic,” Larsen & Patterson sing. Melodically, however, this track is far better than its predecessors and makes for a catchy listen.

5. “Villain” — 6/10

Discussing the difficulty of ending a relationship, Royal Teeth decide that they will “play the villain” and call it off. With the most interesting lyrics on this EP, this track has the potential for greatness. However, the boring bridge and sub par melodies prevented this track from receiving a higher rating.

6. “Only You” — 9/10

This up-tempo number has really nice verses, but the choruses are where things really get interested. With Patterson’s deeper drawl and a nice change of rhythm, this track is the most unusual, sophisticated, and enjoyable on the album.

7. “Kids Conspire” (Extended Version) — 8/10

This extended version took a rather boring song and gave it a really cool bridge (that should have been included on the full cut of the song from the get-go…) Unfortunately, after this fantastic bridge, we go right back to the monotony. So it’s definitely an improvement, but not enough to turn the whole song around.

Ultimately: 6.5/10

Amateurs attempts a fun, youthful vibe, but ends up feeling a bit monotonous and contrived. Royal Teeth came on to the music scene strong with Act Naturally, but I’m not sure their more pop-heavy sound is working for them — they worked really well with a more alternative sound. The EP definitely improves as it goes on, and some tracks, like “Amateurs” and “Only You”, are pretty enjoyable. However, as a whole this project could use some work. I’m intrigued to see where the band goes from here.

You can learn more about Royal Teeth on their Facebook page or website, and you can find their music, including Amateurs, on iTunes or Spotify.