The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Broke Royals wants its music to ask good questions, not give answers

From left, Colin Cross (drums), Taimir Gore (bass), Philip Basnight (guitar and vocals) and Ben Wilson (guitar) perform as Broke Royals. (Aaro Keipi)

All of our great thinkers have toyed with the dichotomy of life’s questions and answers, whether Rainer Maria Rilke (“Love the questions themselves . . . Do not now seek the answers”) or “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (“Just when they think they have the answers, I change the questions”).

Philip Basnight, the frontman of Broke Royals, agrees. “If someone is giving you answers on TV — pundits, horrible presidents — it seems like they are the most full” of it, he explains. “It’s the people who are trying to get to better questions, trying to figure out where we’re going as a society that have the most interesting things to say.”

The D.C. band follows such a character on its new album, “Saint Luxury.” The eponymous creation is a runaway angel who leaves heaven in search of better questions, across an album of pristine pop-rock influenced by the precise songwriting of Spoon and the way “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” crafted a narrative via a “circus tent” full of characters.

Saint Luxury was a useful stand-in for Basnight, who has had his own journey of self-discovery after growing up in but gradually away from an evangelical church. But be it through religion, politics or marketing, “Saint Luxury” is his way of not getting “bogged down” by answer-pushers.

“It’s crazy that there was a time in my life when I was afraid to ask questions,” he says, “where I didn’t have the intellectual bravery to broach those topics with myself — let alone other people.”

Show: Aug. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at DC9, 1940 Ninth St. NW. $10.