CD Reviews

Published on October 21st, 2015 | by The Beige Baron

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Rollfast — Lanes Oil, Dream is Pry

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Balinese psych rockers Rollfast are one of the hardest-working bands around, having played a basically unbroken string of gigs throughout the Indonesian archipelago (and recently a tour of Japan with Kikagaku Moyo) since they got together three years ago. They’re building a reputation for exuberant, high-energy live shows that mix flawless Sabbath riffage with ethno-flavored ’70s psychedelia.

11996917_301727906617626_7633837774864337950_nThat dedication has paid off on the band’s debut album Lanes Oil, Dream is Pry (an anagram for “I misread personally”, and a thematic reflection about how society believes something without bothering to check the facts, according to the band).

From the spacious reverb of opening track Falsome—which references the whiskey-fuelled doom of bands like Goatsnake—to the balltearing stoner groove of Multiple Desert, there is plenty of meat to sink your teeth into.

Electric Illuminators seems to spring from Dead Meadow’s mid-period playbook, until it melts into a reflective down-tempo groove and trippy ambient sound. And that’s the thing about this record: before it veers too closely to the derivative, something in the fragrant Balinese air seeps out of the music, giving it a unique personality.

[Baby 69 on Latest LP, Live at Studio Jizz Version]

According to vocalist Agha—whose voice shares the same high-register power as Pete Stahl or John Garcia—part of this was a result of experimentation with guitar effects. On tracks such as Rules of Wealth and the epic head-nodder The Death Stare, the guitar actually sounds like Hammond organ.

11988726_301551176635299_1797909852403600879_n“Yeah, it’s a mix of fuzz, phaser… and the rest of it is a family secret. I gave you the salt, but I won’t give you the pepper,” he laughs when I ask him about it.

Surprisingly for such a rich and full-fleshed sound, the album was recorded “live” in a studio, with only Agha in a booth.

“We wanted the listener to experience our live show, so we recorded the album live,” he tells us. “We rented a studio in Jakarta for a day, and recorded the whole thing because we didn’t have much budget.”

Being Rollfast’s first time in a studio and working without the guidance of an engineer, the band says the learning curve was steep. “It was a live tracking recording and at the time we didn’t have [much knowledge] of live recording, so we didn’t catch the room sound that we wanted. And we also redid the vocal in Bali, because the first had too much reverb.”

Despite the band’s disappointment at not quite nailing the rawness they were after, the songs themselves are—almost without exception—muscular and well put together. The ethno-psychedelic flavors (particularly on album closer Bleach II, featuring the smoky voice of guest artist Marlies Koopman) are felt throughout and provide welcome contrast to the power chords and big beats.

Rollfast has made an album they can truly call their own—and something any fan of groovy, fuzzed-out psych rock should take time to check out.

Lanes Oil, Dream is Pry is available via Trill/Cult Records. Follow Rollfast on Facebook and Twitter


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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.



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