It is fair to say that like so many others, our ears have often been excited by the exploits of Courtney Davies and Steve Gerdes, especially as one half of post punk/ industrial band Fourwaycross. Now the pair have gripped our attention and ignited the imagination once more with the release of their first album as The Roogs, a record that it is easy to suggest is their finest moment to date.
The LA-based twosome draw on their previous experiences creating music and in life as well as a host of inspirations including the likes of Washed Out, The The, Everything but the Girl, This Mortal Coil, Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails, Sneaker Pimps, and Cocteau Twins for their fascinating release and its captivating sound. The latter two of that list especially register in thoughts listening to the alternative/indie rock/pop aspects of their debut album yet only give a glimpse to its eclectic creativity and breath.
Wildebeest is the album’s first temptation and immediately it seduced attention with the wiry strands webbing out from a guitar. That seduction only escalated as the melancholic saunter of Gerdes’ bass courts the imagination alongside the intimation of his guitar and the gentle but evocative tempting of the pair’s keys. The suggestive shimmer is only keener around the alluring tones of Davies, her soothing tones as compelling as the shades of dark and light uniting in the irresistible body of the first track and its rich sigh.
The track is superb, an immediate hook of the passions which the following I Still See You feeds off with its shadier but no less tantalising enterprise. It has a darker grain to its landscape and tone, one almost tenebrific yet it still provides a beacon of light around Davies’ irradiate tones. Atmospheric and ethereal in equal parts to its solid catchiness with intimation lining every melody and electronic texture, the song is a body of suggestion only intensified by the more feral strains of guitar.
It’s Own Good instantly unleashes dirty sonic smog, enveloping the senses and exposing them to the darkness in its trespass. Even so there is an infectiousness and light within the brewing tempest which had the body keenly swaying, one escalated by the appetite igniting swing of Gerdes’ instinctively growling bass. The cinematic prowess of the duo’s songwriting and composing is especially exposed by the song and greedily chewed upon and contemplated by the imagination before Daydream warms the previous instilled shadows with its warm pop persuasion and creative drama. It is another track which brings another aspect to the almost kaleidoscopic landscape of the release and the magnetically multifarious adventure of The Roogs sound, a pleasure repeated in the instrumental Decoration, a track embracing the more gothic rock hues of bands like The Mission and Fields Of The Nephilim to its delicious cosmopolitan stroll.
A funk spiced infection is provided by Sidestep, that inherent catchiness bound in an electronic weave hinting at a wide range of inspirations from The The and The Thompson Twins to Cocteau Twins and Sonic Youth while Approaching Storm is a piece of music as portentous as its title suggests but equally bears a captivating lustre around instinctive post punk virulence. It is dark, imposing and swiftly addictive on body and imagination with its haunted air and visuals inspiring spirit.
Concluding with the just as riveting intimate contemplations and post punk/dark pop surrounds of Forty Versions, another track which burrowed under the skin to find undiluted lust, The Roog’s debut full-length proved an unbridled pleasure, one still escalating its hold and sharing its depths by the play. In many ways it is an echo of and remedy for the times we are all consumed by right now and in every way one of the year’s most beguiling offerings.
The Roogs album is out now; available @ https://theroogs.bandcamp.com/album/the-roogs
Pete RingMaster 29/10/2020