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rollerball, "trail of the butter yeti"

As multi-instrumentalist improvisational rock-based music becomes more popular with the emergence of groups like Volcano the Bear, Jackie-O Motherfucker, Pele, and others, Rollerball's music pursues a more structured, orchestrated environment on their current release from Roadcone. "Trail" sees this Portland, Oregon-based quintet adding more blocky beats, electronic processing and effective use of not playing to the mix. In addition, there's more focus instruments as various members often take the lead with horns, clarinet, vocals or stringed instruments.The band has certainly lost no ground with their increase of focus material; in fact there seems to be more colorful noisemakers added this time around including two members who listed 'painting' as an instrument and one including a letterpress. Fans of the improvisational sound of Ryan Moore and Neils Van Hoorn heavy LPD/Tear Garden would most likely find themselves bobbing their heads to the ten-minute "Butter Fairy". Even Meat Beat Manifesto fans would be charmed with the album's openers which almost organically mimic some of the experimentation going on with something like "The Thumb" from Actual Sounds + Voices. An unexpected vocal track, "Narcisse", alarmingly jumps out of nowhere with a refrain whose lyrics I'm struggling with, reminding me that it's always those songs we -almost- know that get stuck in our heads, as they circle around furiously until we figure out what in the world they're saying. Oh, Rollerball are damn good at that! Fans of the more improvisational noise will get a charge from some of the other offerings like "White Death" but for the most part this disc is a much more constructed, cohesive element than what has surfaced before from the band. This month sees the group embarking on a European tour including dates in Italy and the United Kingdom, with any luck shows across the USA will follow.