RLLRBLL – “4 Corners” – [Nillacat]
This latest release by Portland’s Rllrbll–down from 5 to 4 to 3 members now, and who needs vowels?–is not only a gas to listen to, it’s a great representation of the band’s wide-ranging capabilities. They are musical weirdos for sure and aren’t afraid to try any style they want, or mix a track in a crazy way. The thing is, there are solid instrumental chops supporting the weirdness; that makes it easy (for me anyway) to follow wherever the band leads. Mae is a talented keyboardist, and the rhythm section (Monte on bass, Gilles on drums) is tight and creative. I don’t mean to give the other members short shrift, but for me Mae’s vocals are probably the biggest thing that make this band sound like this band. Put a vocal track on and boom, hey it’s Rllrbll. There are too many highlights on this record to name them all, but here are a few parts I like: #4 is a cooker with a really catchy chorus, the AfroSambaBeat of #6 was made for the dance floor, and #7 is an unmelodic, semi-industrial rhythm ‘n’ noise thing that jumps out of the speakers. #8 brings in some moody accordion. #9 would remind me of Joy Division if JD had been big on squinky keyboards and fuzzboxes. The record ends with a trip-hoppy noir-ish kind of thing. Tracks are all in the 3 to 5 minute range, so you never have to wait long to get to the next chapter. This band rules.