# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


  by Anthony Strutt

published: 14 / 11 / 2014

Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Anthony Strutt examines offbeat London-based indie trio ROC's 1995 eponymous debut album, which has recently been reissued

Originally formed in 1983 by Fred Browning and Patrick Nicholson, the Brixton- based two-piece ROC did not really start to make grounds until Karen Sheridan joined the group a decade later. I am not sure if I saw he band prior to 1993 when Karen joined, but I knew them all socially as we all used to hang out with Scouse band, Benny Profane together. Their self-titled debut album, which was originally issued by Setanta, has been reissued, and it is fascinating listening, although it is not really my sort of thing, and needless to say, I am not sure if it's going to add any more fans to their fan base. If you have a diverse musical ear, then there is much, however, to be found on this offering. The album opens with 'Desert Wind', which is full of eerieness and atmosphere and sounds very mystical. Karen's vocal is dreamy, and as the song progresses it becomes more commercial. Imagine at first a female-fronted early Prefab Sprout, although it soon changes gear into becoming a Spaghetti Western number. 'Excised' is angst heavy, with a male lead vocal sung through a distorter, while the backing music is like an early Radiohead or Pixies. 'God Willing', which is very short, is like a film intro or a short story, and 'Hey You Chick’, which was a single, is full of samples. When the music does kick right on in, it is like a funked-up Sleeper or an upfront Shirley Manson. ‘Balloon’ has a lovely rhythm to it, sounding very 80s/early 90s and very hypnotic in a New Order sort of style.‘Real Time; is jazzy in tone, while Karen's vocal are sung in a narrative way. ‘Plastic Jesus’ is a cover, badly played, which I think is the point, and a tribute to a car toy for the dashboard. ‘I Want You, I Need You, I Miss You’, another single, is a pleasant enough dance-based tune. ‘Gold Bug’ is restrained psychedelia, sounding as if it is being played in the next room, with a door partly ajar. ‘La Heredia’ has a more complete feel, but once again is odd musically. The vocals don't dominate, and the whole thing feels like a boat trip on a stormy sea. The second half of the track is much tighter, and, in the vein of early U2, shows that they can really play. ‘13 Summers’ is more experimental, in the vein of the Velvet Underground’s ‘The Gift’, but is more lo-fi and much slower. ‘Dear Nicky’ has a Stones-like swagger, but sounds as if it is being fronted by Nina Persson from the Cardigans. ‘Sylvia's Thighs’ is half spoken lyrically. It crawls along, sounding like a Banshees track before finishing sounding like a 12" remix. ‘Ascension’ is part grunge anthem and part like an airport sitcom, set in a departure lounge. ‘Clouds’ ends this odd album. Like its title, it's away in the sky, very pastoral and paisley in tone, and full of flower power fluffiness. As an album, there is too much going on and some ideas don't work, but it makes for a never dull and often rewarding listen.

Track Listing:-

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