Rosetta – A Determinism of Morality
released May 25, 2010 on Translation Loss Records
Rating : 3.5/5
I’ve been hooked on Rosetta since Wake/Lift first managed to work its way into my brain. The way they combine spacey guitars with crushing drones and fiery shouts truly captivated me. However, it appears as though they have regressed a bit. A Determinism of Morality just doesn’t quite hold the power that either of Rosetta‘s first two releases held.
The production is quite beautifully done, with a squeaky clean but at the same time dense sound, allowing things to layer over each other better than I’ve heard from the band before. This is clearly not where the album falls short. The biggest issue is that the band appears to be taking on their writing hastily and not being able to give each theme its due time. For one, the album’s length has been reduced from over an hour on their two previous albums down to 47 minutes. This would not be a problem if there were less songs to coincide with this adjustment. Only one song manages to exceed the 7-minute mark whereas the band had never released a song under 8 minutes before this.
The faults are not just in length, though. The band just doesn’t quite sound like they are clicking. The melodies sound beautiful, the drums keep the songs moving well, and Mike Armine’s awe-inspiring vocals are just as great as always, but it doesn’t seem to meld together in the same way as before. It feels less like they recorded it all simultaneously and more like a detached grouping of recordings. Luckily, the negatives stop there. “Release” features some intriguing experimentation with the band using clean, almost overly-refined vocals courtesy of bassist David Grossman. They are refreshing to hear, adding a tinge of well-engineered pop sensibility into music that otherwise drives away almost all top 40 listeners. The title track is the highlight of the album, however. At almost eleven minutes, it is easily the longest on the record and sounds like it could fit in on Wake/Lift.
A Determinism of Morality is not bad. Not at all. It sounds completely and wholly like Rosetta. Every square milimeter of these songs is typical of their style. It just disappoints in comparison to their past, as they don’t quite execute the sound with the same fervor that you might expect them to. If you would like a recommendation of a good Rosetta album to start with, look earlier in their career. If you’re looking for good albums thusfar this year, look here. It may not be on any best of lists, but it certainly deserves a couple listens at the very least.
Try 2, 4, 6, 7
02. Je N’en Connais Pas La Fin
03. Blue Day For Croatoa
07. A Determinism of Morality