Rolo Tomassi - Hysterics (Cover Artwork)

Rolo Tomassi

Rolo Tomassi: HystericsHysterics (2008)

Reviewer Rating: 3.5

Contributed by: chrisafichrisafi
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Ever wondered what would happen if Paramore suddenly turned into an experimental hardcore band overnight? If they did, they might end up sounding a little bit like Rolo Tomassi. Maybe I'm only making that statement because the band has a female singer, but I think the point still stands. The band is.
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Ever wondered what would happen if Paramore suddenly turned into an experimental hardcore band overnight? If they did, they might end up sounding a little bit like Rolo Tomassi. Maybe I'm only making that statement because the band has a female singer, but I think the point still stands. The band is named from the fictional character from "L.A. Confidential" and hail from Sheffield, England, home of the Arctic Monkeys, revealing that fortunately it's a city with a music scene that goes beyond the pale of popular indie. Hysterics is Rolo's debut full-length and is described by the band as 'spazzcore'; I don't know about you, but I hate people who make up new genres by taking a word and adding 'core' to the end, but I'll let them off just this once.

So what about the album? Opening track "Oh, Hello Ghost" is somewhat eerie and a little bit spooky and flows seamlessly into track two, "I Love Turbulence." It's a track which starts out sounding heavy but repetitive, before the introduction of an electro hook which gains more and more speed before breaking down into an absolutely huge breakdown, in what is probably the album's standout moment. But there are some other fantastic manipulations of tempo, power and brutality laced throughout this offering, although some attempts come across as slightly flat and not thought out well enough. Final track "Fantasia" clocks in at a huge 14-plus minutes and comes across as entirely unnecessary to me; it's clearly an attempt to a slow-moving and tempo-building piece but for such a hugely long piece, but there is simply not enough going on to maintain the interest of any listener without the patience of a saint.

With such an experimental outlook to their music, this album could easily have come across as a collection of weird and 'spazzy' tracks. Instead, the entire album flows incredibly well; if you listen to this album from start to finish you will continually struggle to know what track you are on, which leaves the whole thing to come across as a well-thought out package showing a maturity despite the band's young age. Furthermore, long periods of time can pass within some of the tracks without any sort of vocal contribution; despite having a dedicated vocalist, they are happy to let the instruments lead the listener before a release of often brutal hardcore chanting. Frontwoman Eva Spence alternates between her growl and sweetly innocent 'normal voice' whilst male backing vocals provide a little bit of an extra dimension where needed. In terms of similarities and influences, it's hard to pick out direct comparison. Clearly there is a good dose of Sonic Youth present and there are moments which certainly remind me of Between the Buried and Me, but the best reccomendation I can give you is tell you to check it out yourself.

All in all, it's a solid debut and something different. At times, the sound comes together superbly ("Trojan Measures") but occasionally it gets lost in over-technical concentration ("Nine") and the occasional segment is scarred by the fact that the synths start to sound a little bit too much like the soundtrack to a 16-bit Gameboy game ("Abraxas"). Where the band go from here, who knows, but I will certainly be keeping them on my radar.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TheMike (March 16, 2009)

"Ever wondered what would happen if Paramore suddenly turned into an experimental hardcore band overnight?"

It basically occupies my thoughts day and night.

syebot (March 15, 2009)

this band is fucking awful.

syr667 (March 14, 2009)

also my next door nighbor has been having a dance dance revolution party since about 10 last night, it's now 2 in the afternoon. thats a lot of bawls energy drink. those nerds have some stamina.

syr667 (March 14, 2009)

i thought this was about the chicago band rollo tomasi... y'know double letters in different places...
i dig the occassional spazz band though, i might check this out.

interesting side note, i'm from minneapolis and i've always loved song of zarathustra. after they broke up i heard about the chariots, so i did some google hunting and found a band out of england called the chariots who cited song of z as a major influence, and in a photo one of the guys was wearing a song t-shirt. it wasn't until a couple months later that the chariots (from minneapolis, ex song of zarathustra) established a web presence. i'm just sometimes amazed at how like minded people can be in this "punk community", even over oceans. also that band the chariot (without an S), i don't care for them at all...

ffwoodycooks (March 14, 2009)

LA Confidential is a great movie. score's for that

Hey_Asshole (March 14, 2009)

instantly, i though of Rolo Tony.

rolo tony browntown, check yourself in at the door...

sugarfull (March 13, 2009)

at first I really didn't like this, but I think they keep things at kind of a low-volume, restrained level and it works really well.

mikexdude (March 13, 2009)

The only spazzcore band that matters.

chrisafi (March 13, 2009)

I know spazzcore has been used before but I mean it just hate made up -core genres in general regardless of their creation.

And I have seen this band live recently (with The Bronx and after I wrote this review) and yes they are very good live I must say

givemeamuseumandillfillit (March 13, 2009)

First sentence sucks, second sentence is 100% accurate.

I first heard these guys in late 2004 and they sounded pretty much the same as they do now (or...not like this last record, but everything before it),

xote (March 13, 2009)

Not bad.

Spazzcore is a term thats been used before... most bands who do use it do sound kinda like these guys.

Imagine they'd be a good live band.

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