Plenty of people would still consider Rolo Tomassi a “new band”. But they’ve been at it for over a decade. That’s longer than most of us have had anything resembling a discerning music taste not based on hype and our friends thoughts. That it’s a decade of both cohesive and impressive work speaks volumes about the band.
“Grievances” sounds as menacing as its title suggests. A lot of these tracks are tightly wound bursts of abrasive guitars, destructive rhythms and paint scrapper vocals. It’s pretty sick.
To a certain extent, this kind of extremity is business as usual for Rolo Tomassi, but that’s ok. The internet rags on bands not having a “sound” and then rags on them for not being as “creative” once the nail it? Yawn.
If there is a distinct difference between this record and the rest of the band’s discography it’s that there mellow and introspective moments feel a lot more organic. The dynamic shifts on these tracks still occur at the drop of a hat, but they feel less bolt on and more fluid. Comparisons to other eclectic genre chameleons like Faith No More and The Dillinger Escape Plan might well be lazy, but they’re entirely accurate and well deserved.
The dark influences of jazz, such as on the haunting single “Opalescent”, are the unexpected highlights of the record The use of piano, shuffling rhythms and empty space adds to the expansive nature of these sections and gives you time to breathe between the dense textures of the band at their most frantic. I always appreciate music whose attention span for one idea is as fleeting as my own.
If you’re after a visceral piece of experimental punk that combines brutality and delicacy then you “Grievances” by Rolo Tomassi is a record you absolutely listen to. Or don’t. Or whatever.