There’s something admirably frank yet suicidal about the beginning of Rosetta’s Wake/Lift: an echoing, truncated burst of distortion is immediately followed by a two and a half minute progression of slab-like open minor triads, weighty and roaring despite their massive compression. It’s surging and glorious. From just about any other band in the business of pushing crowd-pleasing heaviness, it would be the climactic release point of the record, but Rosetta are up to something else. The rest of “Red in Tooth and Claw” settles down to some low-key Line 6 Delay Modeler noodling and Rosetta’s usual emo-derived swells and ebbs of distortion and screaming. After that blistering start, this is awkward.
Rosetta are a band that have shown a very deft hand for arena-sized post-metal rock gestures (their debut The Galilean Satellites was one of my favorite records of 2006 & 2007, largely because it is so unrepentantly over the top), so I figure this anticlimax is purposeful, but it still comes across as premature ejaculation. I like jammy, sunlit indie heaviness as much as anyone, but the rest of the record is sort of drab, and it makes me wish they’d saved that outburst for the end, because I think it overshadows the rest of the record to a degree that obscures its strengths. I would love to know what they thought they were doing.