Album review: ROADCASE ROYALE – First Things First (Nancy Wilson, Liv Warfield)

ROADCASE ROYALE - First Things First

Loud & Proud Records [Release date 22.09.17]

When the first track released by Roadcase Royale was circulating earlier this year it became an instant favourite on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio and bode well for the band’s debut album.  ‘Get Loud’ is a superb three minute meld of socially aware groove/R&B/rock highlighting the lead vocals of one time Prince alumni Liv Warfield.  This was followed by yet another teaser track ‘Not Giving Up’ which – if it lacked the soulfulness – still pointed to a potentially interesting longer gestation.

Now we have ‘First Things First’ and in truth there’s nothing that quite captures the ear like the first single save perhaps for ‘Cover Each Other’.  Together with Nancy Wilson from Heart (vocals, guitar) it’s always going to be well played and produced but the songs are fairly rudimentary.

Nancy takes the lead vocal on the Heart song ‘Even It Up’ and the Heart-esque ‘The Dragon’ and there’s the other issue.  The album is not sufficiently unique sounding to give Roadcase Royale a USP apart from the band members themselves (who also include Warfield’s Prince band colleague Ryan Waters and Heart band members Dan Rothchild – who produced – Chris Joyner and Ben Smith).  You can’t help thinking that an independent producer may have harnessed a more intrinsic sound, and the use of  the Heart keyboards and rhythm section a bit restricting.

The fact that the ladies have to pad out the proceedings with a cover of  Colin ‘Men At Work’ Hay’s ‘Hold On To My Hand’ and a live version of Heart’s ‘These Dreams’ suggests a paucity of original ideas.  The promise (and premise) of that first single has not been realised.  Overall, this debut long player sadly remains only a taster of (hopefully) greater things to come.  But, as a lifeline for Nancy Wilson in the topsy-turvy world she has inhabited with her sister, box ticked.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

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