Speak Into My Good Eye

Album Review: The Roofer’s Union – By Degrees

Scarlett Ziemba October 17, 2014 New Music, Reviews No Comments

The Roofer's Union

The Roofer’s Union just released their first album, By Degrees on October 7th, and it is one of the best electronic, psychedelic rock albums I have heard in a while. The band recorded this album in between sessions at a barn house in Brewster NY, and their recording studio in Brooklyn. The band is made up of Arthur Szerejko on bass, Jake Chapman on vocals and guitar, Vaughn Hunt on synths, Kevin Walker on drums, and Travis Tyge on keys and vocals.

I listen to psychedelic rock because of the poetic and philosophical views many of the musicians portray through their music, and the dream like states it puts me in. It’s rare when an album proves itself enjoyable from the first song to the last. Each song on the By Degrees album pulls you further into the bands subconscious and makes you feel like you just dropped a few hits of acid. You’re tripping with your friends, and everything you encounter get pulled apart and put back together more beautifully. This is what the album By Degrees conjures up in my mind as I listened to The Roofer’s Union play through time and space.

The first track “Kid,” makes me feel like Im coming up for air, and its a great song to open the album with. This song conveys the different feelings of an older pessimistic adult versus how a young adult still feels like a kid. The song makes you want to give up those feeling of pessimism towards life. Being young or feeling young, either way, you still have that false hope that keeps you going. “Man Kills God, Man Creates Dinosaur” is a song very apathetic to the human condition of feeling lonely and going crazy in your own mind. The song is a three minute mind-explosion. I also love the howling and the sounds of the background radiation.

Just from the guitar intro in the beginning, “Blossom” promised to be the song I would get hooked on, and the song really does bloom through the lyrics. “Blossom” sticks out in my mind as having the most catchy chorus, “wait for it to blossom like a lost and lonely tree, to teach you all the awesome colors you could never see,” which is a metaphor that is very relatable.This is also the song that made me reminiscent of Hot Hot Heat’s lead singer Steve Bays howling, and I realized that this is why I love Jake Chapman’s voice so much. It has a life of its own and can rip into highs and lows.

“Invisible Cameras” is such a great philosophical jam with a pre-chorus that leaves you feeling very moved by the tone of Jake Chapman’s voice, and the guitar both in synch to the same emotions. I love it when songs use onomatopoeias that flow with the beat making you hear the sounds in your head. It adds action to the song as it plays out in your head and gives off animation and depth.

Lastly, “Smoke Machine” is another great picturesque song that now has a music video to go along with it. This song was written by all five band members and is the most colorful in terms of sound effects. This song has my favorite synth effects by Vaughn Hunt. The music video is hilarious and I love that the band members made all the puppets themselves. The effects they chose made it a very vibrant and trippy video.

The Roofers Union will play later this month on October 29th at Arlene’s Grocery. Until then, check out this fresh hot album, and for a limited time By Degrees will be available on a barney purple cassette tape. Don’t forget to check out the album below.

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