There is a retro flair to La Rocca that uses a lot of the angular rock of acts like Franz Ferdinand to come up with something that is cliché but not necessarily trite. Mixing in a little synthesizer to increase the fuzz during the track, the title track is a romp through New Romanticism and all subsequent genres until the present day. “Sketches (20 Something Life)” is a much more low-key celebration of the band’s talents. The use of the synthesizer during this track is not essential; what happens here is that the synth arrangements twinkle on the periphery before getting a few seconds in the spotlight for the chorus.
Of particular note during the track are the soulful vocals of Bjorn; eir skill really pushes the tracks towards a more human type of sound. This is needed as everything is arranged and produced so well that it sounds like nothing human could create the beauty here; the minor deviations of Bjorn’s vocals makes individuals tie themselves ever closer to the music. The use of emotion-dragging vocal nuances during “Home” links La Rocca to all of those early-nineties pop punk acts that could elicit tears from nothing more than a particular set of words linked together. The insistence of the vocals during the track makes Bjorn sound more than a little bit like Paul Westenburg; the guitars present during the track bring La Rocca even closer to the eighties as they elicit The Cure among others.
Finishing off the EP with “Cambodia”, La Rocca bring a meandering attitude from the country realm; the four cuts present on “Sing Song Sung” bring forth four very different-sounding sections of La Rocca to the fore, something that will hopefully be replicated when the full album comes out in a few months. With this singalong present at the end of the EP, La Rocca have shown that they should be famous for quite a few years owing much to this set of single-ready songs. There is nothing inherently new or experimental about La Rocca, but the fact is still there that they create some of the most comfortable and fun music of this young year. La Rocca should be another reason why the retro trend will not die for at least another year; the re-envisioning of the style by the band gives enough fuel to drag it along for a while longer. Give it a gander.
Top Track: Cambodia
La Rocca – Sing Song Sung / 2006 Dangerbird / 4 Tracks / http://www.larocca.ie / http://www.dangerbirdrecords.com / Reviewed 05 March 2006