Rolo Tomassi – ‘Grievances’

The Sheffield band ring the changes in their line-up but their mathcore power shows no danger of waning

Rolo Tomassi founders Eva and James Spence, still only 25 and 26 respectively, are the only survivors from the Sheffield band’s original line-up. The mathcore tearaways have been together a decade now, and monumental fourth album ‘Grievances’ shows no sign of their powers waning. Heralded by the pulverising drums of new member Tom Pitts, inducted into the ranks two Christmases back, it’s on the offensive from the first second of opener ‘Estranged’. As the song unfolds, guitarist Chris Cayford and bassist Nathan Fairweather trade dagger sharp Mars Volta riffs as the Spence siblings yell their throats to shreds, spitting angry lyrics of breakdown and betrayal (“Ten years on the run left me damaged and ragged”). The record’s barrage of barrelling noise is linked by stuffy interludes of piano (‘Prelude III’) and strings (‘Chandelier Shiver’), meaning the quintet only narrowly avoid coming off as pretentious. But when Eva sings “I held the arrows/I pulled the strings” on calm, clear-headed highlight ‘Opalescent’, the emotional strength at the heart of Rolo Tomassi shines through.

Stuart Huggett