Art Rock is a pretty broad term. Yet, when describing Providence, Rhode Island’s Roz & The Rice Cakes, the term Art Rock is not just appropriate, it’s dead center in terms of what they do and how they do it.
Under the stuttering time-changes, the crescendos and the complex arrangements, at the heart of these songs, there’s a simple pop quality that roots the band at a cross roads where Fleetwood Macand Henry Cow mingle with Bettie Serveert and Gwen Stefani. Roz & The Rice Cakes is equal parts experimental and catchy, energetic and bookish, daring and sugarcoated. This new album, Devotion is a sonic leap for the band. Roz Razkin from the band says:
“Devotion was very different. We spent months working out the material, through multiple recording sessions at Big Nice Studio in RI with our good friend and engineer, and co-producer Bradford Krieger. This new writing process found us diving into a conceptual framework that explored the connections between humanity and the universe.”
If some of the sounds you hear on Devotion give you a cinematic sci-fi feeling, that’s not by chance. Roz continues:
“Sonically we experimented with synthesizers and electronic drums, sounds that reflected a bigger story reminiscent of music that connected with our youth, music we grew up with. I have been a huge fan of sci-fi since I saw “The Thing” at age 5. The aesthetic of the supernatural and unknowns of science fiction and horror definitely have been absorbed in to this album.”
Subject wise, Devotion is a more personal album for the band, while at the same time staying consistent with some of the themes established by the album’s sonic qualities:
“The record covers a wide range of subject matter in the human cosmos connection and is very much present in the current state of the world. ‘Do You’ unpacks the recent political climate and the complicit nature of silence and the long and painful history of marginalized peoples. ‘Somebody’ explores loneliness, a need for physical affection in the wake of heartbreak in the digital age. ‘NOVA’ discusses alcoholism and the need for escape. ‘East Coast’ examines the history of the world from the view of women, and watches civilization make the same mistakes again and again. “Revolving” unravels the affects of mass media production and absorption.”
Since 2008 the group has been touring the US non-stop, either headlining or supporting such artists as Girlpool, Passion Pit, Frankie Cosmos, Rubblebucket, SALES, The Low Anthem, Joy Formidable, Andrew WK, OK GO, Tera Melos and Man Man. They have played such national stages as the Newport Folk Festival and attended festivals from SXSW to O+.
Roz concludes, “This record was indeed a labor of love thus it’s name.”
Devotion will be out on Team Love on October 13, 2017.