The eponymous debut by ROC was originally released in 1996 on Setanta. The electronica three piece, who had formed some 13 years prior, were joined by members of Radiohead and the album was highly regarded. It earned them a deal with Virgin who promptly dropped them after poor sales of their sophomore effort.
ROC is reissued on vinyl LP with download code.
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I’d read reviews suggesting that this was a great lost 90’s masterpiece, certainly the front sticker suggests “outstanding beauty, off kilter pop and much strangeness” but what I find within the grooves is typical from an era where it was suggested that it was totally possible to mix rock and electronica. I’m finding it less Disco Inferno and more Garbage though. The production is of-it’s-era exciting with electronics clamouring for attention amongst the rockist dynamics. Opener ‘Desert Wind’ however is a smoothy trip-hoppy number more Morcheeba than Portishead but prettily soulful, ‘Excised’ throws the kitchen sink at everything with a distorted full on production with a delivery akin to a fuzzed up Shaun Ryder circa Black Grape. ‘Hey You Chick’ nods somewhat towards Moonshake territory with pulsing bass runs and smart assed vocals. The record has ‘90’s attitood and will have sounded innovative in its era but now sounds as horribly dated as a Republica B side. The perfect soundtrack to the wet dreams of Steven Stelfox.
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