Rollerball are back with another serving of experimental jazz and genre-bending pop. On Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause, the band's 3rd album for Silber and 11th overall, they dish out a whopping 15 tracks, blending the organic and electronic into a sonically captivating and remarkably diverse package. Complete with an impressive graphic/packaging layout, the disc is a somewhat more song-oriented affair than their previous album. The focus here is on more concrete 2-4 minute pieces with a notable lack of 15-minute improvised jams (with the exception of the disc's lengthier *cough* bonus track *cough*).
Standouts include the amazing plodding, sensual late-night lounge number "Erzulie", "Tipping the Tree"'s foray into delay-ridden dub territory, the more upbeat, almost carnival-like accordian-driven "Tambien", the beautifully moody, low-key "Quad Four", and the excellent ethereal trip-hop of "Coburn". The band's sense of humor is also on display here, namely on the quirky wobbly vocals and lyrical chicken pox theme of "Sores" and the semi-off-key "Ederlezi", complete with a vocal horn imitation that's downright goofy. The rest of the material here runs the gamut from moody multi-genre instrumental jazz numbers ("So This is That?", "Jack to Jac") to more experimental semi-ambient soundscapes ("Quench") to heavily processed percussion/sample pieces ("Fucker", "Mantis Segue") to concrete goth dirges ("Break in Your Neck").
Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause is another excellent offering from a very unique and creative group. Its more accessible material is spectacular and will likely appeal to a wider ethereal/trip-hop/jazz/goth audience, while its experimental material will probably prove more difficult but equally rewarding. With a blend of interesting sonic experimentation, strong musicianship and songwriting, and a quirky sense of humor, deciphering Rollerball's latest is certainly worth the effort.
Silber Records: www.silbermedia.com
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