Rollerball - "Trail Of The Butter Yeti"
(Road Cone 2001, RoCo 030)
From Aural Innovations #16 (June 2001)
Rollerball is out of Portland, and this is their third release for Road Cone (they have another LP and an EP). According to their bio, these earlier releases are noisier and more experimental, though there are hints of noise and industrial influences here too. "Pest" is a solid dissonant drone with horns and guitars. "Yeti" has a solid well-produced snare-whack. "Lon Chaney" is the first track where a Canterbury sound appears with the horns, particularly reminiscent of the less-RIO aspects of Henry Cow's "Leg-End". But then it settles into a "Black Sabbath"-esque doom piece with piano, more horns and the first vocal by (presumably) Mae Starr. "Butter Fairy" was my immediate favorite and probably will be the favored track by many of AI's readers--it's one of the ultimate dark freak-out jams of all time! The monstrous bass-line and slow groove-drums dominate the feel while numerous jangling guitars, low horns and spooky synth-tones rally around them like the devil's little children. After a while of this, the beat stops, jangles and light percussions persist before a new beat with another whack!-snare, equally as powerful, wraps it all up.
My second favorite is the eccentric "Narcisse". It starts with some clean melodic guitar-picking and crowd-samples, but fucks them all up with warp/splice effects. Then the music drops out and a very unusual chorus emerges ("Let's break bread with the dogs, Narcisse", etc). All these aspects cycle around again in varied form, showing some real song-writing skill, though of course quite unconventional. "Earth 2 Wood" is another stand-out vocal track, with a sad poetic urban-angst type of vibe and another Legend-like horn section. "Line of Perpetual Snow" is another doomy/depressive piece with accordion and erratic avant-percussion, eventually digging into a pretty cool bass/drum groove and some more powerful singing from Mae. "Smokey Loved Bacon" is a really eerie piece with strange industrial effects and Smokey on barks/growls, while someone whistles a tuneful dittie from afar, which closes the album. Overall, things range from decent to good to excellent and this should really make a splash in the "out there" indie/post-rock scene.
For more information you can visit the Road Cone web site at: http://www.roadcone.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Road Cone; PO Box 8732; Portland, OR 97207.
You can email Rollerball at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg