Royel Otis – ‘Sofa Kings’ EP review: Aussie indie upstarts let the good times roll

The duo have bags of hooks and charm, and are updating the ramshackle energy of 2010s indie-pop with a sleeker, more efficient sound

The pursuit of young, dumb fun defines Royal Otis. It’s rare that they don’t look like they’ve got a lot going on: in their recent music video, they don their best disguises, dressed as bandits on the run (‘Motel’) and ‘ 50s King (‘I Wanna Dance’) With You’. The Sydney-based duo, made up of best friends Royal Madden and Otis Pavlovic, is bent on having as many laughs as possible, bursting out big clouds of pop songs that see the world through a catchy, optimistic haze. ,

That spirit shines through on the band’s third EP, ‘Sofa Kings’. “Some music can be so serious, or deep and meaningful, but with us, everyone is invited to the party,” Pavlovic recently told NME, of Royal Otis’ desire to break out of Australia’s indie scene. Expressing and expressing a desire to take on the enthusiastic spirit of the self. consideration for festivals around the world including an appearance at Reading and Leeds in August. It’s not exactly a revolutionary approach, but the NME 100 graduate executes it with real determination in this seven-track collection.

Following on from 2022’s ‘Bar & Grill’ EP – which fueled the success of ‘Oysters In My Pocket’ – ‘Sofa Kings’ could only be made by a band that, along with listening to 2010s live indie acts like Drums and Grouplove – Also heard baggier forebodings. Like The Charlatans. Drawing from this pool of influences means that Royal Otis knows how to craft undeniable hooks that are familiar enough to satisfy passive listening, while simultaneously hinting at a more curious and detailed sound to come. The lingering whiff of SPF 50, the moist boom of ‘Razor Teeth’ is short and joyous, while the looping refrain of ‘Kool Aid’ is wrapped in overdubs. Even with its frenetic tempo and vocal effects, the latter track still feels alive, not overwrought.

‘Sofa Kings’ is ultimately a transitional moment for Royal Otis, even if it feels like a mixed bag in places. Not every song clicks – take the sluggish ‘Letter For Roy’, which slips into oblivion when placed next to the glowing, Beach Boys-referenced ‘Going Kokomo’. At least, though, there’s always something within each track to hold your attention; The tunes are smooth and memorable, even in those moments when they’re bogged down by excess rather than enhanced by it.

The EP’s standout moment is its title track, which pushes Royal Otis’ musical ethos of efficiency front and center, stripping away any extra moving parts to focus entirely on massive, starlit hooks. Is. Ridiculously catchy without the gimmicks, it’s here where Madden and Pavlovic delight in getting this close to their full potential, and this affair will multiply tenfold when they’re looking for a truly bright and nimble sound.


  • Release date: March 31
  • Record label: House Anxiety/OURNESS

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