The Rococo Bang – Just War

5/10

Instruments are instrumental when writing an instrumental album. Without it, well, the album just wouldn’t exist. (This piece notwithstanding.) The Rococo Bang is an improvisational group featuring Zohar on guitar and Robert  on drums. They hail from Portland, Maine, and are trying to infuse the East Coast with their eclectic, effects-encrusted, blues-rock style. If you’re down for meandering guitar and steady back beats, this album will be your jam.

My biggest beef with Just War is, that it is meandering. I prefer my music to be solid structurally, so a lot of this album fell flat for me. I did, however, really enjoy their opening track, “Access To Justice.” It is an awesome album opener. It guided me along softly, until the guitar came in, over the top, in a screeching wah at 1:40, and carried me away for the remaining minute.

It’s too band that the songwriting follows this same basic pattern for all nine songs on Just War. Albeit, there are slight variations here and there. All the tunes are soaked in the simple beats by Robert, who drives the songs along, while Zohar plays a building guitar solo from start to finish. It’s a good album to put on if you’re doing something else and not particularly paying attention to it, otherwise you’ll get bored pretty fast. It would fit as good party music, or perhaps played over a television montage of people running down the beach.

The musicianship on this album is pretty decent. There are a couple of fuck ups by Robert, most notably in “The Hanging Gardens,” where he completely bobbles the beat, leaving the song in a vacuum for a second or two, but otherwise it’s a good performance, if a little repetitive. Zohar shows he knows how to put his fidgety fingers to use. They’re flying throughout the majority of the album, and he really shows off his chops.

I’m curious as to how this band would sound live. On their Facebook page they state that they never play the same song twice. So it begs the question if, while they’re playing a live show, I request “Callahan,” will they actually play it in some semblance of its form, or will it just be a completely different track? And if these songs will always sound different, why bother naming them at all? Why not start with “Jam #1” and just continue counting? So many questions that I do not have the answers to! Do you? If so, hit me up in the comments section below and tell me where I’m right, and where I’m wrong.


Written by Aaron Deck
*edited by Kate Erickson

About Aaron Deck 84 Articles
Once upon a time, there was a boy named Aaron Deck, and he lived in a magical land called Near Halifax. He was quiet and thoughtful (Okay, loud and rambunctious), and learned the wondrous skill of playing piano at the age of 8. Once puberty hit, upon learning that piano isn’t considered ‘cool’, he quickly transferred over to the traditional art of playing Rock ‘n Roll guitar. In 2008, he migrated West to Montreal, where he has played in multiple punk rock bands, including the fantabulous Ol’ School Johnny. He was often not recognized to be part of the band when selling merch. He currently has a horror short story collection out called "14 Needles", available through Amazon. Oh yeah, and he sometimes has really rad living room dance parties.

2 Comments

  1. Hi, Aaron. Thanks a lot for taking the time to review our album. We name songs because, well, naming things is a fun aspect of making music/being in a band. It allows us to reference things funny, significant, or interesting to us. As a band without lyrics, surely you can appreciate that. Also, correct: if you request “Callahan” (or any “song”) at a show, we’ll profusely apologize for our inability to recreate it because we don’t plan anything we play. That goes for practice, live shows, and recording. Whatever comes out, comes out. It’s been a difficult concept to explain to people, but I’ve also never heard of another band doing exclusively that. And this is how we sound live. We always record live without overdubs and we do the same thing we always do when we plug in, strum, hit, and make sounds: improvise. Even with fuck ups and bobbles, we keep it all there in raw form. I hope that helps, and thanks again for taking the time to write about us. Sincerely, Rob

  2. “Also, correct: if you request “Callahan” (or any “song”) at a show, we’ll profusely apologize for our inability to recreate it because we don’t plan anything we play. ”

    Cool man. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question.

    I get the concept you’re going for, and it’s very true; I’ve never heard a band operate like that before. I’m sure, somewhere in the dark recesses of the internet we could find a band or two, but you’re the first to ever touch my ears.

    Keep on rockin’!

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