[sic] Magazine

Rock of Travolta – Fine Lines

Rock of Travolta is one of those bands where, just by the name, you can’t even guess what they sound like. And even after listening to their album ‘Fine Lines,’ I’m STILL not sure what they sound like. It’s a dense proggy mass with blasts of murky rock’n’roll and weird experimental moments — the sort of music that always seems to be unfolding into something else. Best taken in small doses.

It opens with a robotic droning and a bunch of weird voices saying… I’m not sure what they’re saying, but it sounds like “Haunting me all night.” The first song ‘Rock By Numbers’ drifts between that and a blistering rock anthem that twists like a tangle of wire. Consider it a taste of what’s to come.

Several of the songs start off as something else — blippy electronica, mellow folk, ghostly techno, and even a woman rambling at us. But as the songs wind on, the band layers on the guitar, violins, drums and the buzzing bass, until the music erupts into an epic rock’n’roll expanse. The last two songs don’t even bother with that — one just leaps headlong into the blazing fiery rock, and the other transforms into an eerie, howling rocker that streams away into the distance.

The biggest millstones around this album’s neck are a pair of songs that just don’t really fit. One is a woman’s increasingly distorted voice talking over a violin, and the other is a murky, distant rock melody that never really becomes easy to hear.

Fine Lines doesn’t have the kind of music you can easily listen to in one sitting. It’s so dense and overwhelming that sometimes it seems to blur together, especially since most of the songs are similar in tone — dark, tangling prog-rock that blows you away like a thunderstorm. If you listen to too many of the songs, they bleed into each other.

There aren’t a lot of vocals except for the Robo-Vocals and the woman talking in ‘Happy With What You’re Given,’ and some of the songs might have benefited from some Matt Bellamy style wails. But the songs are still pretty good — if rather intense — even without that.

That said, they’re pretty good musically — the fiery bass and guitar fill every song to overflowing, but they also weave in some muscular violin melodies and a dash of electronica (both some dark keyboard and some blippy-bloopy stuff). It all gets mushed together into the strong melodies, with one instrument or another surfacing briefly only to be swept back in.

Rock of Travolta’s Fine Lines would be more aptly called ‘Thick’n’Heavy Lines,’ with its tidal waves of proggy rock. Warning: only safe in small doses.

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