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