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Love Letter To A Record: Royal East’s Pat O’Bryan On The Killers’ ‘Sam’s Town’

Written by Pat OBryan on November 27, 2019

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Pat O’Bryan, Royal East: The Killers – Sam’s Town (2006)

Do you recall that endless, sweltering summer when we first met? I can still see it clearly. I picked you up the day you arrived in town, spending every dollar I’d ever earned in the process. You were wearing a fashionable and too-tight plastic wrapping, and a fetching $24.99 sticker.

From the first sound of your voice – 1. ‘Sam’s Town’ – you told me exactly where we stood. You were confident and glamourous. Your soaring guitar riffs and unrelenting drum grooves appealed to my upbringing of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. But you were also something totally new to me; your vocal melodies and sparkling synthesizer lines had a flair that appealed to my passion for musical theatre. You were just the right thing at just the right time. I had been in turmoil; on the one hand, picking up every guitar and pair of drum sticks I could lay my hands on and fancying myself as an up-and-coming rock star; and on the other, wanting desperately to perform in musicals. Your alternative rock helped me to reconcile musical worlds that I thought would forever be in conflict.

You invited me to find my own musical voice.

My mum did not like you, not one bit. Who could blame her; I’d spent the summer playing you through every CD player in the house and I’d beg her to let you come with us on every car ride. I carried your liner notes like a gospel and sang along with you whilst standing on the coffee table. You wove me into your narratives and those lyrics moved me: ‘sometimes you close your eyes / and see the place where you used to live / when you were young’. Your tone was so sincere that you caused me to feel a profound sense of nostalgia – even though I’d only ever lived in one house … and, at 13, I was still pretty young.

I was totally enchanted by your every gesture. I secretly delighted in the secrets that you shared with me – for example, how ‘2. Enterlude’ and ‘12. Exitlude’ that bookended the album were based on the same progression (I’m sure you won’t mind me sharing?). You taught me to take an album in its entirety, and to look for (and cherish) artistry wherever I found it.

Nowadays, we catch up infrequently, but every time we do, I’m transported back to that summer. Such is the power you still hold over me. There will always be a place for you in my heart.

Forever yours,
Patrick

Melbourne-based indie-pop four-piece Royal East have today revealed their new single ‘Get With Me’, produced and mixed by two-time ARIA Award winner Joel Quartermain (Eskimo Joe).

It’s a delightfully offbeat theatrical pop singalong that beckons for repeat listens.

Take it for a spin — and catch the details of Royal East’s Melbourne launch show supporting Art Vs Science — below.

Royal East Tour Dates

Saturday, 14th December
Supporting Art Vs Science
Howler, Melbourne

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