Rolo Tomassi have changed. I mean, of course they have; 3 of their original 5 members have left and the entirety of their rhythm section has been changed out. Their last album Astraea at least maintained the same drummer as their first 2 records but Grievances doesn’t even have this luxury.
So as you can expect the dynamic of the band has shifted significantly and this was also apparent on Astraea. Not only had the guitar work moved away from technical punk flourished with jazz in favour of a more traditional mathcore sound, but the song structures were considerably more rigid as a result. This has only become more apparent on the band’s 4th album Grievances.
Grievances follows a more solid foundation that doesn’t see the tempos change mid song like the Rolo Tomassi of old. This has the unfortunate effect of making the band more predictable. Some listeners may prefer this more focussed and direct Rolo Tomassi but for me part of the band’s appeal was always how utterly bat-shit insane their song-writing was. Grievances is tame in comparison.
Tame is a strong word. Rolo Tomassi are still a very aggressive and very progressive band with a huge sound. If you’re a fan of mathcore then songs like Estranged and The Embers will instantly appeal as they’re considerably well put together, it’s just they don’t sound like they come from the same band. It’s this notion that will greatly affect the appeal of the record. Rolo Tomassi fans of old will likely feel like something is missing while new fans will have a perfectly serviceable mathcore record to sink their teeth into.
If we take the album at face value then there is still plenty to enjoy. The guitar work is a wonderfully technical blend of dense riffs and noodly moments of guitar prowess. The drums hit you straight in the chest with a gloriously satisfying punch and the performances are tighter than a kitten stuck in a drain-pipe. Vocalist Eva Spence puts forward a dazzling display of throat-tearing aggression backed with some wonderfully introspective moments of haunting melodies. James Spence continues to move away from his chiptune-style keyboard effects in favour of more subtle sounds that help create some wonderful texture. The core mechanics of this album are expertly delivered and like I’ve already said, if you like mathcore then you can do no wrong than giving this album a listen.
But if you’re already a Rolo Tomassi fan then you’re bound to notice some of the magic has been lost. Grievances is not the frankly bizarre drug-trips of Hysterics and Cosmology and if you want to hear the band continue down that road of agitated punk crossed with jazz and chiptune sounds then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Rolo Tomassi have changed and whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends exactly on your familiarity with the band.
Rolo Tomassi’s Grievances is out now and can be ordered from Holy Roar Records.
It’s been 4 years since Maths last graced us with new music back with 2011’s Ascent EP. The post hardcore/screamo noiseniks took an extended break from music to catch up with personal matters but the three-piece are back with The Fires Courting the Sea, a 6 track mini-album that essentially carries on directly where the band left off.
Maths are still a delightfully weird prospect. The band mix angular guitar riffs with moments of melodious beauty that manage to ebb and flow in a bizarrely natural way. While we use labels like post hardcore and screamo to help define the band, there’s a youthful punk energy running through this record and most songs barely scrape the 2 minute mark.
But what really sets the band apart are those wonderful moments of introspective melody like the introduction to The Water is the Colour of the Sky which creates wonderful imagery of British coastline and fleeting romances, much like the record’s artwork. Despite the bands insistence of screaming everything they have to say with all the strength they can muster, there’s real beauty in Maths’ blend of melodic punk rock and that still helps them stand out from the crowd even to this day.
Speaking of screaming, the performances on this record sound like they physically hurt. The blistering pace of the guitar work sounds like fingertips are being shredded. The drumming is equally exhausting to listen to as the drum fills are utterly relentless in their speed. You’d shift some serious weight if you could learn and perform these songs. Yet somehow Maths manage to put forward a record that’s enormous in scope and it moves in such a satisfying way that when it rolls to a close it genuinely feels like you’ve taken an intense, snap-shot tour of the highs and lows of someone’s life.
Maths’ The Fires Courting the Sea is a phenomenal melodic punk record which manages to cram some of the most beautiful yet utterly pissed off music it can into its 10 minutes. Maths are still one of the UK underground’s most treasured acts and it would be sacrilege for any punk fan to skip on this record. You know what to do.
Maths’ The Fires Courting the Sea is out now through Tangled Talk Records. Order a copy on vinyl by clicking here.
TEEF are a punk band and like all the best punk bands they deal in nasty, stompy music that will whip a club into a rampage that won’t end until the audience are pulverized by studded jackets. They’re the sort of punk band that live by a ‘no nonsense’ attitude which means their music is fast, loud and catchy. They’re basically everything you want a punk band to be and while they’ve sadly announced their split so early into their career, they’ve left behind one of the greatest UK punk records we’ve had the pleasure of listening to. It’s called Admit Defeat and not owning it should be made a crime.
Admit Defeat is everything you love about punk. It’s an abrasive, snotty, bouncy record that isn’t afraid to tell you to “fuck everything” in its opening track. While these ten tracks clock in at around eight minutes, TEEF take you on a whirlwind tour of everything that makes punk so hugely exciting and it’s an absolutely electrifying experience.
Every part of the TEEF puzzle is firing on all cylinders. The sheer amount of riffs stuffed into these eight minutes show an exhausting display of guitar talent that makes you wish you wrote every damn riff on the entire thing. The bass punctuates every massive chord and beat with stunning precision, the drumming performance is beautifully unruly and the vocals display a man who is so close to the edge that he’ll probably throw you off it. This is a seriously dangerous-sounding record.
Let’s talk highlights; opener Scum is a gritty mosh pit anthem with a riff so bouncy it’ll shake venues to their ashes. Cathartic Release rocks a riff so catchy you’ll be headbanging wherever you’re listening to it. The drums on Still Here are enormously fun and full of great fills that sound like they’re fuelled by the most insane caffeine rush. Let’s not forget about the vocals; the vocal performance is just so wonderfully disgusting throughout. The music is also complemented by a fantastic mix which is full of impact and is bizarrely clear considering how painfully raw the music is.
TEEF have put together one of punk’s brightest moments. Admit Defeat is a non-stop powerhouse of grotty violence that’s amazingly memorable despite its aggression. No band in the UK has managed to meld fury with song-writing this catchy nearly as well as TEEF have managed to here and it’s a massive shame that the band won’t be making anymore music. Admit Defeat might be the last TEEF record but as swan-songs go, this couldn’t be any better.
TEEF’s Admit Defeat is out now on cassette through COF Records and vinyl through Headless Guru Records.
Patrons are a 4 piece alt rock band from Plymouth who are clearly influenced by luminaries like Biffy Clyro and In Case of Fire. Their second EP The Momentary Effects of Sunlight sees the band’s sound expand exponentially, creating a truly satisfying slab of emotional rock music.
Patrons manage to prove that over these 4 songs that they have an unnerving talent for writing music that ebbs and flows with wonderful fluidity. Songs like Circus kick off with a brilliantly off-kilter twangy riff that opens up into a soaring chorus before driving the whole thing home with a massive riff that could shake a house to its foundations. The movement of Patrons’ music is so natural that it makes for bizarrely easy listening considering the sheer amount of action contained within.
The band also make use of some famous post hardcore tricks like the quiet/loud dynamic. This becomes one of the most satisfying elements of Patrons’ sound as they often follow up their more subtle and understated moments with an enormous explosion of guitar euphoria.
We haven’t even spoken about the vocals which are exemplary throughout. Melodies are incredibly memorable, heart-on-sleeve affairs and when the music steps up a notch then the vocals follow suit. There’s some satisfying screams in here that really help deliver the notion that these boys really do sing it like they mean it.
Patrons have a seriously accomplished sound for a band this early in their career. The Momentary Effects of Sunlight is an EP loaded with fantastic song writing and the emphatic choruses are coupled with a lovely melding of delicate yet abrasive guitar work. If you’ve been looking for your new favourite rock band then look no further because Patrons might just be the one.
Patrons’ The Momentary Effects of Sunlight is out now and available to buy on CD direct from the band.