Rollgypsyroll - Rollgypsyroll (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Rollgypsyroll (2005)


It's just one word. Eight letters, two syllables, and three vowels. It seems so simple, but it's a word that makes many a reader here at the ‘Org cringe worse than Roseanne singing the national anthem. It's a word that was in fact coined by our very own Scott Heisel. That word? Sasscore. It was in reference to the polarizing Blood Brothers that this word was first used in context, and has since been used to describe a band or sound having the merit of "sassiness."

At first listen, Ottawa's Rollgypsyroll seem to exemplify the traits necessary to be deemed "sasscore." In general attitude and musical style, they seem to fall under much of the same blanket as another Canadian indie dance export, Hot Hot Heat. I wouldn't say that the band is obnoxious necessarily, but a lot of these songs are right on the border of that description. They even seem to combine some of the elements of the Blood Brothers with Hot Hot Heat's dancy, groove-ridden sensibility. The band will go into these periods of droning, low-tuned guitar and right as they seem poised to explode into chaotic frenzy, a deep bass groove kicks back in and the music regains its danceable quality.

Overly repetitious song structures is an issue that many bands of this type run into, and Rollgypsyroll are no exception to this, as the melodic guitars with a slight tinge of discordance don't offer up much in the way of variety, seemingly playing one chord for minutes at a time, before switching into another equally repetitive progression.

Repetitive may describe the instrumentation on this EP rather well, but the vocals don't fit quite that quickly into a generalization or pigeon hole. There's still not a lot of variation with tone or inflection, but the singer's voice has an infectious quality to it that can a lot of times say more than any potential talent that he might have. "Basskick" allows him to sing over a song that sounds strikingly similar to Morris Day & The Time's "Jungle Love;" I can almost see Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith dancing while this song is playing. It's a fun little 3-minute track, and will stick in your memory more than any of the other 4 songs that you'll find here.

Danceability or not, most of this EP can't come out of the rut it finds itself surrendering to after "Basskick." It's sassy, yes, but if that's all they have to offer besides simple songs with repetitious chords, than I'm going to have to pass, and you'd be wise to do the same.