Rosetta / Balboa Project Mercury

Sun 5th August 2007


/incoming/rosebal.gifI'd been looking forward to this for a while now. Rosetta's debut - the ambitious 2xCD 'The Galilean Satellites' - was an enthralling debut release. I'd heard good things about Balboa too, so I was hoping 'Project Mercury' (two Rosetta tracks, three Balboa tracks and a collaboration) would stem my longing for 'Wake/Lift', Rosetta's new effort. Unfortunately, I now wait for it in trepidation, because on the basis of 'Project Mercury' their new album won't be nearly as brilliant as I has hoped it would be.

Rosetta have gone the way of their ancestors (i.e. Isis, Pelican), and have become a much lighter prospect that before. This was something I did not expect at all. And it is not welcome. They recently admitted to being unsure of how to do themselves justice in a studio when they recorded their debut, but now have found their place, their sound and how they like things mixed. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. The vocals that grappled over the shoulders of the other instruments on their debut and which made the tracks so powerful are now relegated to a murky low mix. There is much less vocal action too...

Musically, as stated before, they have abandoned the bludgeoning epic riff for the tried and tested 'loud/quiet' bit. What I believe people loved about Rosetta was that it was 'loud/loud/louder/even louder/loud'. There was a raw power that drove them, more akin to bands such as Coalesce, Acme and so on, than any of their contemporaries who worshiped the new sounds of Isis, etc, wielded. There's a weakness now - they wanted rid of that, but there is nothing to replace it. Nothing big enough to fill the void hearing Armine bellow about stars and galaxies with such passion...

Balboa turn out to be somewhat of a disappointment too - their three tracks doing nothing to excite, although they offer up the one surprise of this release, in sounding stronger than Rosetta. The collaboration is nothing to comment on really either.

So, a disappointing release. I can only hope that the two tracks Rosetta offered up on this, was their learning curve, and that the void on 'Project Mercury' will have something in it's place for their second studio album.


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