Rise of the Speedmen
In what has come as a radical departure from many of the bands that we review, ROTS is more in the ‘Electronica’ side of music, than standard guitar-fayre. ‘Portrait of Dead Man’, the opening tune, would not be out of place on ‘Sin City’, the bass and effects create a strange sound, which when it gets going, chugs along nicely. There isn’t too much variation within the tune itself, but it does set the tone for the rest of the album.
The main reason the Editor gave me this CD was because I am partial to a bit of ‘Raging Speedhorn’, the band names sound similar, but that is it. Whilst one screams and grunts its way through each tune, the other is clearly not designed for that, being more for background music.
One-man bands have their pros and cons – for one you have no-one else to answer to but yourself, and you can put in exactly what you feel is best. ‘I hear a symphony’ reminds me of Sparklehorse, in that the use of little bleeps and effects is used in balance to add an extra dimension to the beats and melody. Its very inward-looking, which is not a bad thing, as it shows that this has something at the very heart of what they are trying to do.
‘Another 1’ shifts the tempo up slightly, but again you can tell it’s the same band. The lyrics are almost Ian Brown-esque, more in style than regional accent though! There are elements of Grandaddy in there too, being a mix between organic and technology, which does work quite well.
‘Second impression’ is probably my favourite tune on the album. The way it starts immediately grabs your attention, and again there are Grandaddy-styled effects in there.
The quality of the recording is not bad and with this style of music, the mix for the live instruments is always a little odd, but it is not too off-putting.
‘Liquor Lullaby’ and ‘Rewind’ slow the pace down a touch, and these two tunes epitomise what ROTS are about – mood music, but not in the Elevator sense. Some of the samples seem intentionally chosen solely because they are so diverse to the main core of the music and therefore add a certain uniqueness.
My only criticism is that it is not the kind of music that I could put on with the intention of listening solely to it. Sure there are some real nice little pieces, but it just all blends together and I don’t know whether the tracks need moving around or what, but it just needs breaking up a bit.
‘Welcome back’ is in the same vain, going back to what I said before. It isn’t that the songs sound the same, because they don’t, its just they seem to merge into one and it takes some time to fully appreciate the distinction between each track.
‘You keep it Hidden’ tries to shake things up a bit, but again it just falls short. To me, there is just something missing, whether that’s merely just a slight change in the tone or whatever, it just needs a little more OOMPH.
Now ‘Cut Throat Composition’ is a slightly different kettle of fish, and with the spoken vox at the beginning it manages to make it a little more edgier. Then after a minute or so, it sinks back into a little rhythm and doesn’t quite live up to what you thought it would be when it started.
The album finishes with ‘Ship Dreams’, which again manages to create some interesting sounds, but again sinks into monotony quite quickly.
ROTS are definitely a band that require multiple listening sessions, as, whilst its obvious from the first play that they have something about them, its in too short a burst to fully appreciate what they could be.
No doubt, in a year or two’s time we’ll be getting another CD from ROTS, and my money is on it putting ‘Introduction’ into the shade.
If you like Grandaddy then go see them, there is definitely something here, and just like the track title, he’s keeping it hidden.