By NATHAN SOLIS
L.A. band Roses is a tincture of modern melancholy mixed up with hints of new wave, pop and perhaps red wine. The trio have created a consistent EP, It’s Over, which encapsulates a warm, saturated feeling that’s both danceable and worth listening to with a critical ear.
Bits and pieces of Roses remind of The Cure, and no, not Love Cats-era Smith, but more of a nod to sensible people saying crazy things or catching themselves shouting in public for no good reason.
Somewhere on the track Florence Girls, where the synth saws away at the scenery, there is a confession being poured out in a crowded hallway. The details might not be clear, because the guitar is revving up in the next room, but the sentiment is as obvious as a knock to the forehead.
Lead vocals/keyboards are handled by Marc Steinberg, who is caught in the mist of the instrumentation, his voice sometimes washed away like a picture found at the beach. In that distortion rests Roses’ bravado because just when things might turn too sappy Juan Velasquez’ guitar huffs over the smooth surface, adding texture and character.
On We Hate Our Friends, Steinberg’s voice begins to spread out, and with Group Text, the vocals are magnetically charged, caught in the static fuzz of distortion, maybe other elements fluttering in through the window. Victor Herrera, bass, is caught between synth and drum track, but he does just fine breathing life into the song ‘Unhinged.’
Fans of VHS or Beta and early Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark will enjoy Roses. All of it has the potential for gloom, but it’s actually painted with a bright sherbet ice cream, all of it melting in a glorious puddle.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.