It’s easy to say calming things like “They’re in a better place now,” or “At least their suffering is over,” when you’re still in the land of the living. We can say these things because the afterlife is the cat in Schroedinger’s box as long as we remain living. But is it a “better place?” And how can we glibly state that someone’s “suffering is over?”
Royal Baths are here to remind us that the afterlife is more likely an unfriendly place, watched over by entities who begrudge the dead their recent life and are unwilling to let the deceased walk an untroubled path towards everlasting peace. Your suffering is far from over:
Have to pass the test
In their hands, this “test” seems like something altogether more diabolical than a simple weigh-in of your trangressions versus your good deeds. And no amount of pleading (“take my body home“) will exempt you from a trial you can’t prepare for. After Death evokes sadness and fear, a crippling combination even for those who still exist in the overworld. Starkly harrowing and reminiscent of a more focused Gun Club playing covers of White Stripes’ covers of obscure early blues classics (you know, the kind that mentioned death pretty much all time). Royal Baths aren’t here to set you at ease. They may offer to take your hand, but they won’t be offering cliched assurance. Just know that at some point, you’ll be on your own.
Royal Baths Fact Sheet
Home: Originally San Francisco, but relocated to Brooklyn, NY for sun-related reasons presumably. (Namely, less of it.)
Genre: According to their Myspace page, it is “Blues.” According to Minor Scratches, it is “Post-Goth” or “Not Dubstep.”
Albums: Litanies (2010), Better Luck Next Life (2012)
Little known fact:
A recent study of music criticism discovered that the word “troubadour” and the word “mandolin” are never more than three sentences apart. Lead vocalist Jigmae Baer composes all of the Baths’ lyrics on a typewriter.