Crooked Royals Drop Their Newest Album “Quarter Life Daydream”

Auckland, NZ band Crooked Royals released their latest album, Quarter Life Daydream with five tracks submerged with various genres and emotions. The up-and-coming band consists of Christian Carstensen [clean vocals], Lee Mackley [heavy vocals], Jake Andrews [guitar], Keane Gilles [drums], and Conor Lawson [bass].

“Glass Hands” is the first track on the dynamic journey Quarter Life Daydream takes us on. Instead of popping off with an intense sound, Crooked Royals eases us into the track before breaking on with the intricate guitar techniques and hardcore vocals. The band clearly wanted to incorporate varied textures into the track, something they accomplished with the transitioning from the screaming to singing—Of Mice & Men vibes definitely seep from this up-and-coming band.

Brendon Urie-style vocals are evident in Christian Carstensen’s singing in the second song, “Ill Manor.” The R&B vocal techniques add a soft and superb touch to the hardcore nature of the piece. There’s this dramatic point in “Ill Manor” where the band halts, allowing the listener to catch their breath from the intensity of the track, and Christian breaks in with sweet vocals in a falsetto voice before surprising with the long and high note at the buildup. The term “Ill Manor” is British slang for a sick house, which means when a house is not safe or healthy.

Multiple genres are infused into the third track, “Waypoint.” Most definitely hardcore metal but Christian’s vocal style in the piece adds a bit of swagger. The energy is cranked up to the highest in this piece, and the band successfully maintains it throughout the entire piece. “Counterfeit” has rap incorporated into it, and it’s absolutely phenomenal. It’s an example of just how cultured the band is, and it’s evident Crooked Royals wanted to show their listeners just how versatile they are. “Counterfeit” is the shortest song on the album.

“Owed To You” is a more melodramatic song, especially in the chorus. The middle of the song changes the tone a bit to a more pop sound, but it doesn’t take away the intensity and emotional aspect. Beautiful backing vocals towards the end, they amplify the song’s emotional impact. It’s fantastic that the song closes with the backing “oohs” and “aahs.” The intricate and spectacular guitar work in “Copacetic” gives off so much energy.

“Paper Warrior” has this undeniable hardcore nature that’s infectious. And “Between You And I” begins with an indie pop sound before building up to a rock-pop sound with some R&B influence. Lee Mackey’s heavy vocals are exquisite in the track and throughout the entire album.

“Jake initially wrote it as an instrumental for his wife,” Christian recalled. “It’s just a beautiful song, so we put it on the album. As the only single guy in the band I found it strange to write a love song, but I thought of my parents’ marriage for the lyrics. They were a huge inspiration, because they’ve been together for 25 years. They love each other the same way.”

On the topic of the theme being set around the album, Christian implied that the song would resonate with many people in their twenties because the age bracket is where people are still exploring the beginning stages of life in the adult world.

“A lot of us are in our twenties,” Christian said. “In a quarter life crisis, you’re stuck in that beginner job straight out of university. It’s about the trials and tribulations we’ve gone through writing during the pandemic and doing those jobs. It’s about balancing the stress we all go through in our twenties. These are referred to as the wasted years where you experiment and see what’s good and what sticks. It’s the main theme of the album.”

He continued, “We’ve done a lot of serious songs, but we don’t take life so seriously. This might be the happiest body of work we’ve ever written though. There’s a relief and release to it. We hope you hear this shit happens to everybody, and it’s part of the human process.”

Check out the album below!

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