Finding beauty within the chaos is something that no band manages quite so spectacularly like Rolo Tomassi. Now over a decade into their career, and ten years since the release of their debut full-length ‘Hysterics’, the Sheffield originating outfit have built a solid and respectable reputation of never playing by the book. If anything, they’re now the ones writing the book.
Shifting between riotous and ballistic barrages of noise to calm, orderly, and often dreamy spaces with the click of a finger is something that is standard routine for Rolo Tomassi by now, and they even throw in all of the time signatures and noises that you could find into their flurried mix.
Now five albums deep with new offering, ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’, they’re not only still finding ways to bring fresh ideas and concepts into the frame, but it feels like we’re finally confronted with the Rolo Tomassi that they’ve always been striving to be.
A gleaming, ethereal, lifting, and space-y instrumental in ‘Towards Dawn’ gently grabs us by the hand, and, as our goosebumps begin to rise, steadily leads us into the experience that follows. It’s at this moment that ‘Aftermath’ delves us into the band’s world.
It’s arguably the band’s most melodic and (dare I say this with a Rolo Tomassi song) radio-friendly thing that they’ve conjured. Vocalist Eva Spence‘s honeyed and delicate cleans take charge, directing us into the chorus, and that’s when the full band grabs you and takes the pilot seat of your emotions.
What this album manages greater than its predecessors is its completion and cohesiveness. Plucking and improving on the highlights from the more melody driven ‘Astraea’ from 2012 and the dark, brutish, and malevolent ‘Grievances’ back in 2015, this LP is certainly a more positive inclusion into the band’s discography, and its the vibe and aura it emits that sees it stand on the shoulders of its predecessors.
Eva‘s brother, and the only other remaining founding member, James Spence takes a bit more of a backseat this time around on the backing vocal front. Instead, his more notable presence is the ominous and sometimes eerie work on the keys, sending a sense of dread but also hope that ebbs and flows through the record. The hairs on the back of your neck will no doubt stand up straight every time you hear the frail and haunting mid-section of ‘The Hollow Hour’.
The opening of ‘A Flood Of Light’ almost sounds extra-terrestrial, until we’re met with the asteroid sized drop of the entire band coming in at once in a massive wall of sound that, before you realise what’s just happened to you, turns back into solemn guitar plucking and Eva‘s soothing voice. Then, another asteroid of mathcore madness comes hurling right back down on you again.
The final one-two of ‘Contretemps’ and ‘Risen’ is arguably the best climax the band have crafted for an album thus far. The former is an 8 and a half minute rollercoaster of turmoil and elegance. It’s a breath-taking journey before we’re plonked onto the ground for the curtain closer; Eva shrouding us in a net that almost cleanses us of the destruction that has been laid over the past 50 minutes – almost like we’re looking over a world that we’ve destroyed hand-in-hand with them.
Indeed, ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ is a fitting title for a Rolo Tomassi record – its message blurs between fragility and fury; between opulent and oppressive; between beauty and beast. That’s something the five-piece have masterfully crafted throughout their career, and with this record it feels like they’ve finally completed their journey into who they’ve always been destined to become. This is their magnum opus.