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Roach Goin' Down
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  • Palberta's fourth album isn't a major stylistic shift from their previous releases -- they still write short, hyperkinetic songs with absurdist lyrics, and they still play them gleefully, filled with exuberant shrieks and fits of laughter. However, if there's a noticeable difference between Roach Goin' Down and the group's Wharf Cat debut, 2016's Bye Bye Berta, it's the absence of avant-garde tape pieces and a tighter focus on the band's pop instincts. Songs like the disco-punk jig "Roach Goin' Down" and the minute-long party "Sound of the Beat" feature some of the group's sharpest hooks, while still containing unexpected twists. Even though the group sounds positively joyous, a few darker elements stick out, such as the screams during "Pixels" and the lyric "I am in hell" during "Cross It Out." More often than not, though, the songs are playfully disjointed, and the group's energy is in full force on tracks like the rapid, buzzy "#1 Fill" and the celebratory singalong "Big Time." On a few songs, they invite some friends over to provide additional sounds, such as skronking horns or keyboard laser bursts. Just as the trio mangled "Stayin' Alive" on Bye Bye Berta, here they deconstruct Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl," changing it to "Rich Boy" and inserting a brief, wailing clarinet solo. On Roach Goin' Down, Palberta continue to hone their skills while losing none of the uniqueness of their earlier work. ~ Paul Simpson
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