THE HOLY ROLLERCOASTERS "Bathe" (Valley Heat Records)

THE HOLY ROLLERCOASTERS “Bathe” (Valley Heat Records)
This tape is a nice little surprise. The Holy Rollercoasters are an 8 piece band that have their collective toes dipped in several genres. This is soulful but not straight up soul, full of rhythm & blues but cannot be simple pigeonholed into just that. There is a very jazzy swagger to a lot of this and a bit of the horn arrangement almost seems like free improvisation.

The vocals are definitely the central focus of this release with the instruments swirling around it. You can tell that they’re an important part of the band unlike plenty of other bands that words and melody are an afterthought or something that comes off as sloppily thrown together. “Song of Offering” is my standout favorite and features keys leading the way. If this track had a little ska guitar you could sneak it onto a Slackers album and I probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash. Again, very soulful and moody. 

The Holy Rollercoasters seem to have a good idea of what they’re doing here, nothing seems rushed, songs don’t overstay their welcome and I’m left wanting more. The drumming throughout is very tight and clean but has a great laid back air to it. Their cover of the Ralph Stanley classic “O Death” provides an eerie slowed down  break to this otherwise swinging EP, at first I wasn’t sure about this change of pace but “Ain’t Gonna Get Better” comes right back in and picks it back up. Good call.

The cover art made me think I was about to getting into some horror punk nonsense, what I got was much better than I expected. This is not something I would typically choose to put on but I can see myself revisiting this in the future.

--Righteous James