November 2, 2006

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ROC, Night Fold Around Me
12 Apostles Records, 2006

Pompous, sometimes baffling troop of rich European bastards (one a direct descendant of Bram Stoker) out to get somebody back for something and helping futurepop get a grip in the process. If you were hip to their previous release on Virgin UK, be prepared for a different band "” their open-letter flaming of the music industry loosened the chip on their shoulder, leaving space for an angel insisting they drop the prat posturing and accept their talent, begrudged as it may be.

In "Princess," Fred Browning muzzles his mentalcase angst in a facelessly commercial groove, but he makes up for it later in the epic Family of God-like "Sing a Poor Song." Karen Sheridan lends her first couple of vocal contributions to piano and guitar ballads that owe their desolation to VNV Nation buzzkills, but in the end she gets the must-download of the album in "Journey To the Centre of Brixton," a shoegazey techno filibuster about the romantic pains generic to lovers too self-obsessed to communicate. B+

— Eric W. Saeger