Rosematter - Shooter's Gonna Choke
Record Label: Oort Records
Release Date: October 23, 2007
Okay, time to be honest: I used to be a ska kid. Less Than Jake, Suburban Legends, Save Ferris... I loved it all. To this day the opening horns of "Come On Eileen" can still get me up and dancing. I think that's why I'm as curious about Rosematter as I am - it sounds like the stuff I grew up on, minus the brass section. That may be a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the idea. Subtract the horns and replace them with a bit of the intensity that Paramore used to have, and you've got yourself Shooter's Gonna Choke.
Lead singer Katie Kolos wastes no time exploding to the front of the track on "Decadence is Freedom With a Smile." She's backed by pounding drums and thick guitars that complement her vocal style well. Rosematter keep the songs short and sweet, exactly the way high energy rock should be. The drums on "I Bet She Gives Great Helmet" pave the way for crowd interaction: clapping, jumping, and moshing made easy.
Rosematter have perfected the art of mixing upbeat music with downtrodden lyrics, which are probably best showcased in "Your Mom Doesn't Count as a Fan, Jesse":
and you are pressing all my buttons / and throwing these colors at me /
feeding off my failure / and I am trying to keep my composure /
my blue eyes are turning green / but you will never see
The Pennsylvania-based band also often turns their eyes to the west coast, as they do in the beautiful "Fool Me Once, Strike One. Fool Me Twice, Strike Three:"
behind the wheel I am the only one with my eyes open / to witness the Pacific Coast Highway / stretch to become a breathtaking symphony for the soul
This song in particular shows similarities to bands like The Forecast in tempo and vocal style. it also nicely displays the band's versatility in lyrical subjects. On the flip side of that, however, the band doesn't slow down for any of the tracks - every one of them pummels the listener just as hard as the previous one. On one hand, none of these songs would work as ballads, but I'd like to see what other directions they can go in before they pigeonhole themselves. On the other hand, they seem to have no shortage of heavy hitting riffs or choral hooks, even when it comes to ass late in the album as "Being Brave Usually Means Having Your Adult Teeth Knocked Right Out."
"Pull a Fievel and Go West" uses some gang vocals, but they are placed rather far back in the mix. I think Rosematter could use gang vocals to their advantage, seeing how much their music already lends to crowd participation. The last song, "I Drink to Prepare For a Fight (Tonight I'm Very Prepared)," features the most graphic of their lyrics, and is thus one of the more powerful songs. The pop culture references and vivid imagery throughout the album are some of Rosematter's strongest points, and it all comes together nicely in this final track.
Rosematter intrigue me because their influences reach so far back, and at the same time, I am interested to see where they will be going in the future.