Rocky Rocky LP

Raven Mahon (of GRASS WIDOW and GREEN CHILD) and Xanthe Waite (of PRIMO! and TERRY) have paired up as ROCKY, and their debut LP is a work of quiet beauty, a minimalist grid painting of meticulous post-punk brush strokes on a paper-thin pop canvas. Most the album’s nine songs are primarily constructed around the hypnotic drone of a drum machine, stark bass lines pushed to the forefront, and wiry guitar dropping in and out as single-note stabs and knotted melodic counterpoints, nodding to both of their previous/other groups—Raven and Xanthe’s intertwining and overlapping vocal harmonies definitely give those familiar GRASS WIDOW goosebumps—but even more so displaying a very YOUNG MARBLE GIANTS-inspired balance between chilliness and warmth; simplicity and complexity. Things get slightly more raucous (in a deadpan post-punk sort of way) on “Repeater,” one of a handful of tracks to introduce a full drum kit, further accented with subtle synth buzz and even a bit of warbling violin, and the wound-up, off-kilter ’78–’83 art-punk bounce of “Blackout” (one of the best examples of that particular form since those two HOUSEHOLD records from around a decade ago), which only makes the austere and brittle atmosphere of songs like “Contents” and “Nothing Tuesday” hit that much harder. I’d expect nothing less than genius from these two, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.