Dusted Reviews

Rollerball - Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Rollerball

Album: Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause

Label: Silber

Review date: Jun. 1, 2005

Portland's Rollerball are a schizophrenic bunch - happier exploring every available musical avenue than getting ensnared in creative cul de sacs. Previous albums have seen them try their hand at everything from deranged cosmic jazz and psychedelic blowouts to fragile folk/chamber explorations and even the occasional foray into power pop. Critics might throw the accusation of 'jack of all trades, master of none' at the quintet (for this album they are also joined by a host of guest musicians to augment and extend their palette), but Rollerball handle their material with such aplomb and with a refreshing lack of pretension that each style seems an equal component of their own equation.

Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause showcases the band's proficiency and creative appetite - in fact it serves as both microcosm and primer for Rollerball's 11-album career. Free music and jazz form the foundations for their creations, allowing them to incubate, hatch and prosper. Accordions wheeze, accompanied by wild-eyed drumming and percussive salvos, duelling male-female vocals harmonize over a bed of ambient whispers to create amorphous sound collages. This album's two standout tracks, however, occur when Rollerball take to more conventional shapes. "Erzulie" sounds like the dark gothic cabaret of The Black Heart Procession if they were fronted by ex-Come songstress Thalia Zedek. Elsewhere, "Tambien" captures the magickal air of a Crowly-mass before transforming into a burlesque chant, in praise of unspeakable occult endeavours, singing "Black claims my heart. . . Hands off the moon, its not yours." Darkly beautiful.

It would be easy, of course, for Rollerball to concert all their energies in this direction, churning out melancholic, yet fundamentally cute, pop vignettes. For one it would undoubtedly see them held fast to the bosom of alternative America. But this would be a waste and a pity. The very reasons why Catholic Paws/Catholic Pause is such a pleasurable body of work are its ambition and scope. Without sounding like poor facsimiles of anyone, they manage to navigate vast territories that, if not unchartered, have been rarely undertaken with such persuasiveness.

By Spencer Grady

Read More

View all articles by Spencer Grady

Find out more about Silber

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.