Rozelle are a five-piece from Bristol and their appearance at Patterns is the last in their current mini tour. Which, as it happened, coincided with the release of a video for their latest number, ‘Something Is Coming’.
Right from the off, it’s evident that they are well rehearsed, producing a very tight rendition of their haunting track ‘Crystalised’. Hayley Smith on lead and Loulou Barry on backing vocals complement each other well, harmonising from both low and high ranges. A rat-a-tat rhythm from Tomos Jarvis on drums kicks off their second number. Beautiful soft vocals with a punching lead guitar from Alex Rowland. This is pop. Short and sweet.
The drums drive the rhythm, but Hallam Crafer’s bass seems somehow lost below the surface. Keyboard melodies ebb and flow alongside a dreamy lilting guitar. Wolf Alice have been cited as a reference point, but this is The XX joining forces with a slightly subdued Florence And The Machine.
‘Something Is Coming’ has a melancholic wistful lament and the previously absent bass has been restored, pushing the song forward. Hayley chats to the audience between tracks, underlining the relaxed mood of the band.
Musically, the five slot together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. However, this is not the perfect venue. Just a few feet back from the bar, their atmospheric tunes are lost in this open space. They give it their best shot and although the music doesn’t miss a beat, the performance lacks presence. Having said that, ‘Episodes’ fills the room, with Hayley and Lou working well together in close harmony and once again, the drumming of Tomos lays down a solid rhythmic backbone.
The anthemic bursts and jangling guitar of ‘Fold’, their penultimate track, lift the band up, building to their final track, ‘Closer’. Alex Rowland’s creeping guitar beefs up to punch out a rock sound as the music builds with Hayley stepping off the small stage, mingling with the audience.
A measured performance fusing sharp stabs of rock with drifting, dream-like lyrics and synth pop keyboards. Rozelle are one to watch, but perhaps not in a bar such as this one….
Patterns, Friday 21st April 2017
Words by Andrew Burrows
Photos by Xavier Clarke