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Walker & Royce's Time-Tested, Idiosyncratic Sound Expands in Sophomore Album, "No Big Deal"

The trajectory taken by Sam Walker and Gavin Royce has been defined by rebellion. Not long after beginning their partnership as Walker & Royce, the New York-based house music duo aimed to shake up the industry by eschewing the no-nonsense undercurrents of the time to share a more quirky, out-of-the-box sound.

Soon enough, the whistles, wobbles and trills that accompanied their blaring basslines became synonymous with the avant-garde productions cooked up by the pair. After partnering with the beloved Dirtybird Records, their notoriety increased tremendously before culminating in the release of their debut album, 2017’s Self Help.

Throughout the years, the tandem would continue shaping the house music scene with their infectious beats, releasing hit records like “Dance with Me” (with Chris Lake), “Rave Grave” (with VNSSA) and their impeccable remix of Dom Dolla’s “San Frandisco.” 

However, after seven years and countless bangers, Walker & Royce are finally following up on their original body of work with their long-awaited sophomore album, No Big Deal.

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Sticking to their tried-and-true method, No Big Deal puts the producers’ idiosyncratic sound front and center. From beginning to end, the project features a collection of dancefloor-ready heaters highlighting the eccentricity that is the Walker & Royce brand.

Immediately upon playing the 10-track album, your senses are awakened. As the opener “Let’s Live It Up” builds, its vocalist, Harm Franklin, reminds us of our mortality and eagerly urges us to adopt the mantra behind its title before delving straight into a signature, thumping Walker & Royce bassline. 

The record then dives into a one-two-punch of brooding vocals provided by Grammy-nominated vocalist Barry Bones. In “Fatalistic Groove,” Bones’ work alongside synth grooves harkens back to the early electro of the 80s. In contrast, his notes in “Cheap Thrills” float by as stabby melodies pierce through the mix.

Walker & Royce.

Myles Heidenreich

Elsewhere on No Big Deal, we find Wakler & Royce teaming up with longtime collaborator VNSSA to offer up yet another pulsating banger, “I Don’t Remember.” In “Tha Tea,” it’s all tea and all shade as the wompy, wobbly cut offers up some lessons in reading. Because reading is what? Fundamental. (Thanks RuPaul).

Closing out the album are two tracks illustrative of the nonconforming journey that Walker & Royce continue to forge. In “Stop Time,” the pair enlist Glass Petals and Elohim to concoct a boomerang of a song. Equipped with a stellar chord progression, it starts as a soft, melodic piece before turning into a bass-heavy banger. 

Meanwhile, in “Did You Mean It” featuring ZOF, the boys find themselves deep in the realm of drum & bass. Acting as a smooth landing to an otherwise turbulent run, the song may be a hint of what’s to come in the ever-evolving sounds of Walker & Royce.

No Big Deal is out now via Dirtybird Records. Listen to the full album below and find it on streaming platforms here.



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