Dream pop duo Royel Otis provide sparkling indie rock in their charming debut EP, Campus.
Royel Otis have well and truly burst onto the scene this year. Formed by childhood friends Royel Maddell and Otis Pavlovic, the Sydney based duo’s debut EP is an entertaining ride packed full of youthful exuberance and laid back summer vibes. Spread over five excellent tracks, Campus has a refreshing indie rock sound and grows on you with each listen.
“I’m just so tired of my sick mind” sings Pavlovic in the opening line of the first track Only One. His smooth delivery is joined by a strong bassline and gentle guitar melodies which ooze feel-good summer vibes. It’s no surprise to hear the pair grew up on Australia’s sunny coastline, and this idyllic lifestyle has clearly shaped their production. An excellent opening to the EP, perfectly introducing their distinctive sound.
Without U continues the lazy tropical vibes. Guitar riffs dip in and out of reverberating vocals, eventually joined by drums and bass as the track builds. “Without you, without you, without you” repeats before the catchy chorus, where soft pop vocals are joined by playful synths. The track conjures up memories of summer days at the beach, but the narrative being that you can’t enjoy the beauties of life without someone to share them with. The lovesick rhetoric doesn’t come across cheesy though, and instead pairs perfectly with the overall feel of the track.
Days in The Dark follows, a more emotional piece with a slower tempo and more relaxed vibes. Hazy guitar and dreamy vocals flow nicely, creating an atmosphere that is both melancholic and uplifting, and the chorus encapsulates this mood. Things eventually fade out with euphoric swelling synths and distant vocals, perfectly concluding another great track.
The EP continues with Wait, where tranquil guitar riffs are paired with Pavlovic’s warm vocals. Another slower piece, but still with the same satisfying charm of the earlier tracks. The chorus brings the track alive, with distinct similarities to Tame Impala, a band I’m sure they were influenced by.
The EP comes to a fitting end with Never Been More Sure. Playful guitar plucks kick things off before rich synths and a captivating guitar solo forge another absorbing track.
Overall, Campus is a very impressive debut EP. For two newcomers their sound is notably polished, refined, and hard to fault. Each track is meaningful and well-thought-out, and nothing sounds cluttered or out of place. The duo have clearly drawn on influences from their indie idols, but created a sound that is unique and fresh.