Roy – Tacomatose EP

Tacomatose EP

Something of an ode to their hometown of Tacoma, Wash. – hence the title of this EP – the guys in Roy are no amateurs or first-timers. Featuring two former members of Botch and a current member of Harkonen, and released on the Initial label, most would expect something loud and climactic, but in reality this is a fine indie-rock release, combining loud guitars with softer and melodic ones, off-kilter singing that hints a bit toward the emo genre, and classic indie-rock sensibilities.
The thick, grungy sound to the opener, “T Town Concrete” is offset by melodic guitar as well, giving it an interesting dynamic. The vocals on “The Bolivian Army Lays Siege to Seattle” – by either Ben Verellen or Brian Cook, the liner notes are unclear who sings lead – remind me very much of the Weakerthans. The inflection is almost exactly the same, and the song’s slower pace but lofty chorus is a fairly similar style to that band (who, coincidentally enough, they toured with). Still, it works for these guys just as well, and this is an excellent track.
“We Didn’t Evolve” is a much more moody track, with acoustic guitars and some more personal lyrics: “You can sit on your ass and get old / and no, there’s nothing wrong with that / so you can numb yourself with all of your pills / and say ‘I’m okay’.” The louder but short “Tell it True” is a bit more punky and has a certain lo-fi rock approach that would be comfortable on a Sebadoh album. And “Lightweights Exclusively” closes the short EP with another indie-rock number, the lighter vocals and one guitar mixing with a louder guitar and drum approach.
If Roy is just a side band, then this EP may come and go in a flash without making much of a splash. Certainly the band name won’t turn many heads. But the music here is quite good, and these accomplished musicians clearly play together very well. And even if they’re not a household name, this is the second of three EPs, with a full-length album on Fueled By Ramen in the works. The only real fault on this EP is the similarity to some of the indie-rock bands these guys likely listen to in their tour vans. They’re clearly not breaking any new ground here, but the songs are good enough to make that fact unimportant.