The Royal Ou - The Royal Oui
Record Label: File: Under Music
Release Date: Feb. 11, 2014
This one’s for the underdog.
The Royal Oui are a Vancouver duo comprised of Ari Shine and Adrienne Pierce, two artists who have recorded music for years independently, before teaming up and releasing this unsuspecting and somewhat terrific debut LP.
Much of the disc is spartan, lo-fi and draws strength from Shine and Pierce’s understated albeit compelling harmonies. Whether its the gorgeous “True,” or the spellbinding “When You Lose Your Mind,” the disc’s first half has a lot to offer. The problem however is that the album suffers from a lack of sturdiness. While “True” and “When You Lose Your Mind” are surefire winners, “Dirty Snow” and “Sirensong” fall asunder due to poor production and a lack of execution. In more capable hands, the songs might have been winners, but nothing about them does anything to separate The Royal Oui from the pack.
Thankfully, there are always two sides to an album. On the stronger back half, the duo shines on “Don’t You Think That I” and “Give Up the Ghost.” A bare-bones and delicate arrangement helps make “Bonfire” the duo’s most vulnerable, human and empathetic song, while album closer “Montauk (This is the End)” is arguably the disc’s most complete, most layered and most rewarding listen.
Perhaps what makes The Royal Oui such a rewarding listen is that in a music scene littered with machinated beats, Auto-Tune, narcissism and shallow songwriting, this Vancouver duo hits at something very real, very tender and deeply sincere. Not only that, the duo, who are documented lovers, actually sing like two people in love. When they sing about saving each other and helping each out along the way, you actually feel that connection. Once upon a time music had that kind of power, thankfully in the case of The Royal Oui, it still does. And for that, the music world owes them a great debt.