Rollfast is a band that I’ve been following for a while (here for previous reviews); a five-piece from Bali, Indonesia it purveys a great line in blues drenched psych rock that, in the limited number of releases I’ve heard, has never disappointed. Now, after almost 5 years together, the band has put out an album with they inevitable question of whether it can sustain the sound over the longer medium.
The answer to this question is yes, as the band roll ten relatively long tracks out over the hour mark (this would be a double if it ever came out on vinyl, a possibility but for now only on digital media) which, while it never strays too far from a psych blues template does, nevertheless, have enough variety in it to keep me engaged through out. So while the opening two tracks, ‘Falsome’ and ‘The Rules of Wealth’ could be described as standards of the genre (those standard being maintained at a high level), the third ‘The Death Stare’ is an excellent melange of blues, Ry Cooder and Morricone that presents an atmosphere that is more the desert of Westerns than the beaches of Bali.
The band list its influences as Pink Floyd , Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin; and the latter two are certainly evident in ‘Multiple Desert’ with its Zeppelin chords and Sabbath riffs, while the slower ‘Baby 69’ is infused with whiskey soaked blues that evokes late night bar melancholia. ‘Electric Illuminations’ continues the theme, but there is a greater emphasis on keyboards which really ramps up the psych element in a way that is reminiscent of some sixties West Coast classics, but with quite a particular take. Then comes what you think is going to be the inevitable slow number comes with ‘Bleach I’ with its lush piano intro that actually materialised into a much more atmospheric instrumental that is as subtle and nuanced as it is surprising, a much more satisfactory interlude from the hard drinking blues than a ballad would have been.
When ‘Nudetilt’ arrives, it is one of those languid numbers that you just get lost in the guitar and vocals as they soar and swoop around a really basic back beat. ‘Destination: Death’ ups the pace which then judders to a halt with ‘Bleach II’ which initially, and unsurprisingly, reprises the more experimental ‘Bleach I’. This is a much more meditative number, the come down after the party with some wonderful jazz-influenced vocals from Marlies Koopman. Essentially a duet with Agha Praditya this finishes the album off in a way that is once again surprised yet welcome.
Rollfast could have easily produced an album of psych blues that would have been proficient and satisfactory. The fact that it is more than that is something that, for me, takes the band above and beyond many of its contemporaries in that genre to produce a set of tracks that keep me going for the hour plus of this album’s length, and will bring me back time and again.
Agha Praditya : vocal
Gungwah Brahmantia : guitar
Aan Triandana : bass
Bayu Krisna : guitar
Ayrton Maurits Willem : Drum
Lanes Oil, Dream Is Pry is released now on Trill/ Cult Records