An album to be buried with
Normally, one thinks of siblings in a sense of rivalry. No matter their chosen genders or birth order, vying for the attention of eyes and ears in a familial and friendship sense creates a dynamic for many sibling pairs and sets, doesn’t necessarily make for pleasantries. But in the case of Sheffield, England brother and sister duo James and Eva Spence of Rolo Tomassi, the equity they’ve struck between them has produced something more welcomed than a headache usual sibling raucous causes. Since their earlier days of producing fairly atmospheric math metal, the two have somewhat switched up their style, incorporating elements more soft, ethereal and delicate. Peeks into this started with 2015s Grievances, but they carry on into what is probably one of the more surprisingly spunky releases of this year yet, Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It.
What makes this record so captivating is the way the Spences play off of one another on top of the band’s other three members. Eva’s lead on vocals take on such a strong Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sense; her shrill and jarring screams fairly antithetical to the elegance of her sung melodies. There’s a joyful presence on Time Will Die that isn’t really felt on their other releases, and it starts from the more upbeat opening couplet of tracks “Touch Down” and “Aftermath.” Synthy and poppy in their own ways, the two introduce how the Spences play out the “loud-quiet-loud” formula with a strong execution from guitarist Chris Cayford, drummer Tom Pitts, and bassist Nathan Fairweather.
Time Will Die isn’t a record about curveballs; it’s entirely a record about consistency. Nothing lulls but only get peacefully low at times. Like with “Rituals,” which starts with very ambient tones and ends as one of the most doom-laden on the record, or “The Hollow Hour,” which balances evocation with grim color. In the album’s last two tracks “Contretemps” and “Risen” are the final efforts in the record’s dissonance of harshness and delicacy. The piano intro by James on “Contretemps” brings out mellow post-rock elements before Eva comes in with fierce vocals, whereas on “Risen,” the true essence of her seraphic vocality is fully displayed. It ends the album on an emotional note and one that makes you want to start it all over again.
Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It, though Rolo Tomassi’s fifth release, is where they’ve truly hit their most fitting stride. A balance of heaviness and softens suits them and if they continue with it, they’ll be around for another ten years.