Review Summary: Imagine a village.
Nothing too big, just a village, an old one if you please, positioned between two giant mountains. Along that mountain is an equally formidable river. As you wander through this village, you see the inner workings; the baker baking, the farmer farming, the apothecary… apothecarying. The weather is fair and everyone seems to be happy. However, there is something ominous in the air. Something that is unspoken but known and there is a problem that is swept under the rug. Despite this the baker keeps baking and so on. Zoom out a bit and you will see a dam. One that is big enough to hold back the raging river that I mentioned before. It is old, there are many cracks and it looks like it’s about to spill over any minute now. However, no one speaks of this. As the sun sets, so does the daily activity. Just about everyone in this small village is about to lay their head on their pillow and dream the day away. You wonder if that dam could be the source of this ominous feeling and before you can finish that thought it shatters open, letting the raging waters rush in. Panic ensues as this proves to be a gigantic catastrophe on par with the volcano eruption of Pompeii, only in the form of water. This leaves the village in ruins. Everything is totally desecrated. The only thing left is the frame of a few houses and the water, still knee high, mixed with the blood of the people of this village.
If you just imagined that like I did, than you already have a pretty good idea of how Math Rock outfit, Rodan’s 1994 effort Rusty
sets itself up with its first two songs: the calm, layered guitars meandering about in “Bible Silver Corner” leading into the harsh instensity of “Shiner”. This example of their extreme dynamics only foreshadows what’s to come for the rest of the album.
Now, dynamics are not an easy thing to pull off. Too often in the indie world they are haphazardly used as desperate attempts to catch the listener’s attention and come off as a cluster*** of lazy song writing. Rodan seem to have perfected this art. This album can lull you to sleep and give you a smack in the face hard enough to knock a few teeth out. It can bring you into a field of rolling hills and then before you know it throw you in an iron maiden. It can do these things all within the same few minutes and pull it off as if each tempo change and each scream out of left field was placed there with the precision of a surgeon. Each time signature seamlessly leaps right into the other no matter how odd while still being tidy enough to bop your head to. Rusty
is not a boxer mindlessly flailing his arms around hoping he hits his opponent. Rusty
is controlled chaos when it needs to be and beautiful when it needs to be.
shows that Rodan are not a bunch of angsty kids picking up some instruments. They are technicians, carefully crafting moments of beauty and moments of terror to beautifully juxtapose each other in an unbelievably compelling way. It does not take long to realize this either. On your first listen, your attention will be held and guided through every hairpin turn and every beating that this band chooses to bestow on you. And you will like it. Rodan will make sure of that.