Richmond, Virginia. Capital city, Patrick Henry, ‘sailor sandwiches’ and canned beer. Oh, and now another thing to chuck up there. Roseneath. The duo is made up of Brian George on guitar/bass, together with Jason Roberts commanding vocals and production (as well as some guitar/bass too). Whatever they might lack in official members, they more than make up for with expertly-crafted tunes.
Their debut EP, Shine, has been lighting up my eardrums recently. That’s surely due in-part to stylistic similarities to bands like: Far, Deftones, Quicksand, Failure, and Balance & Composure. I mean, these are all bands that I adore! However, I believe this reason for EP’s ease-of-rotation is primarily the songs. Roseneath have a magical way of leveraging their influences to come up with catchy and well-written songs.
My favorite track on the EP, “Blurred & Bent” pummels and soothes with its driving drums, deep power chords, and pretty lead guitar. It’s actually reminiscent of Failure‘s cover of “Enjoy the Silence” when the heavy part kicks in proper. Then, just before that vibe loses any steam, the verse comes in with a sparser drums/bass/vocals arrangement. It’s here that we’re introduced to Roberts’ light and assuring voice as he sings, ‘Forget what you know about it/Forget who you are‘. Kind of perfect shoegaze lyrics, if you think about it.
The second half of the verse brings back the guitar leads from the opening section, which is an expert way to tie these parts together and provide a little something extra before the chorus detonates. Detonate it does! The chorus recontextualizes the heavy power chords from before, and delivers a soaring lead vocal melody. It’s, at once, both haunting and addictive. Particularly, I love how they exit the chorus with that quick descending riff while Roberts shouts, ‘Can’t shut it off‘. The action builds to a stop. Then the song loops back to the opening section. It’s got me head-bobbing and thinking, Oooo I see what ya did there!
The second verse knows what the first one didn’t. It knows there’s a fierce chorus section that can’t be made to wait! At the end of the second chorus, as foretold by the first, the bridge riff seamlessly takes over. The vocals glide atop the double-timed drums. There’s even a slight guitar solo, but nothing too over the top. The song comes first. The final chorus drives its message home, ‘You can’t shut if off‘.
This is truly skillful songwriting. I could, without a doubt, go on to applaud the following four songs on the EP for their craftsmanship as well. Shine is a really solid release. However, I think you should check it out for yourself. You might find that 2022 hasn’t been all a bag of burnt toast. I mean, at least not for music, not as long as there’re bands like Roseneath out there.