Role Mach shows off its strange sounds on Holy Shades of Night

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      Holy Shades of Night (Independent)

      Although local ensemble Role Mach is sometimes known for its sprawling, horn-filled jams, the five songs that make up Holy Shades of Night all fit onto one 7-inch record. The physical limitations of the medium mean that the material is succinct by necessity, with lengthy instrumental passages omitted in favour of raw, punchy rock.

      Still, even in this format, Role Mach’s music is pretty damn strange. Opening track “Holy Shades of Night” begins as a fairly straight-ahead garage-rock number, but it takes an ominous turn thanks to frontman Patrick Geraghty’s absurdly deep harmonies, which resemble monastic chants.

      From there, the EP gets truly weird: the jittery “Hobgoblin Blues” is a two-minute vamp consisting of a hypercaffeinated bass riff and shrieked poetry, and this gives way to a coda of rapid-fire horn licks. As if that wasn’t freaky enough, closing cut “No One Stayed to Watch Me Leave” is laced with apocalyptic woodwind trills while Geraghty doubles his voice with abrasive, hellishly demonic croaks.

      It’s fearlessly unique stuff, and songs like “Black Manhattan”—a crunchy, melodic rock tune that’s by far the most straightforward song here—provide an accessible counterpoint for Holy Shades of Night’s appealing weirdness.