Belleruche

Rollerchain

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    8
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On Rollerchain, Belleruche's unique instrumentation (turntables plus guitar supporting a female vocalist) has led them down a darker path than those explored on their first three albums. Their sound is scrappy post-punk guitar rock chopped up and thrown together in a bowl with an assortment of broken beats and glitches, served up with a healthy dose of grumpy tunefulness. Singer Kathrin deBoer comes from the early Michael Stipe school of enunciation (which is to say that half the time you can't understand a word she says), which turns songs like "Get More" and the rather bluesy "Reach for the Bottle" into something like an intermittent lyrical Rorschach test, an effect both inscrutable and oddly fun. Sometimes deBoer's voice is itself chopped up and treated like an element of beatwise abstraction, as on the excellent "Cloverleaf"; at other times it's given dub-style treatments that send its echoes skittering off into the ether at the end of each line, as on the equally fine "Under Fire." Turntablist DJ Modest (great stage name; the guitarist goes by Ricky Fabulous) is one of the most inventive and tasteful artists working the wheels of steel outside the hip-hop community, and the group achieves what sounds like an effortless balance between density and space, beats and silence, tune and groove. Very impressive.

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