Wharf Cat Records
Roach Goin' Down
It’s great to hear artists pushing the envelope and questioning music in all its shapes, but you need to give listeners something to keep them coming back. On their extensive new record, the band throws everything at the wall, for an album that is incredibly scatterbrained and intentionally heavily discordant throughout. Though there’s a lot of life, and fun ideas on the record, it feels too much like a collection under-cooked ideas to warrant repeat listens.
The waves feedback and cacophonous noise that come through on “Surfing With Berry” really serve as a theme for the overall record, and a summary of the chaotic rage the band manifests in their music. As they focus this for something a little more pop on “Roach Goin’ Down” the sound is so discordant it can be hard to really get caught up in the energy. “In My Fame – Jug!” however takes a much more direct and unilateral writing to let their frantic writing flow in a way that’s accessible. Even their slower grooves have a fun rhythm and energy to them.
With a roaring bass on “Pixels” Palberta keep their fury at a high screams and all, while centering around their main hook to keep from feeling unlistenable in their often abrasive energy. The instrumental jazz of “Cherry Baby” does lean into the band’s aggressive energy even more but mostly works due to a lack of over-crowding in the band’s sound. They even retool this into dense chords on “Big Box Inn” while making something so straightforward it almost feels more like part of a song than a complete idea.
“Cross It Out” is one of the more complex beasts of the record, as the shifting dynamics keep it more lively than one-note. On top of their loose harmonies there’s something really exciting to the song’s fiery riffs. Palberta’s Les Claypool undertones get quite in your face on “I Have Found Your Ego” while a sparse melodic focus and the brash drums keep it fun. By the time you hit the grimy shredding of “#1 Fill” Palberta are almost parodying punk to their own detriment as they stop and start with reckless abandon.
Even songs like “Ink Of Truth” can show Palberta’s ability to craft a mood in a song, while their refusal to polish ends up making their music incredibly niche. “From Lamp to Lamp” while repetitive and interlude-like, is surprisingly one of the album’s more coherent pieces. From this “Sound Of The Beat” bursts with a pop energy and focuses the band’s boundless spirit into something fun and free while still catchy.
This clever sense of pop know-how and raw fury can feel deliberately avoided throughout the record as songs like “Ziddy” and “Big Time” shower listeners with amazing launching points for songs that are cut together like they were made in a rush. Even the dense writing of “Jaws’ Return” bears all the marks of complicated gems but is so vehemently against the grain production and tone-wise that it’s hard to lock into.
However they even make something new of their discordant sounds on “Gimme Everything You Got Girl” where they use their noise for commentary. Then something like “Momentous Space-Up” seems purely there to just protest the concept of music itself, where at least “Rich Boy” makes their voice something dynamic and different. Spare gems in the closing section of the record like “Fake-Out” and “Palberta” show the perfect middle-ground of the band’s energy while unfortunately highlighting how rarely they reach these moments.
Words by Owen Maxwell