It has been a long wait for The Rock of Travolta’s new album, Fine Lines, with their last release having come out in 2003 to many rave reviews. For fans of TROT, this is more than a return to form; this release most probably surpasses their already accomplished back catalogue. Whatever the “new approach” to song writing is, that the band cited as the reason for the delay in releasing this album, it has certainly worked.
Fine Lines opens with Rock By Numbers, a track which features some of the only words you’ll hear on the album, delivered via use of samples. It’s a great opening track, making you feel a sense of unidentifiable unease. Which I suppose is something we’re all looking for…
Last March of the Acolytes is definitely the stand out track of the album. This is genuinely one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard, and the band manages to so affect you without any lyrics. It has the ability to stop you in your tracks (if you happened to be tracking anywhere at the time) and hold you in a slack-jawed trance at its brilliance. It may sound like I’m overly rhapsodising here, but you just have to listen to see what I mean.
The songs on Fine Lines are beautifully full and layered, the band manage to fit so much into one song that it verges on the sublime. I couldn’t begin to claim to know how they make some of the sounds you hear on this album, but they are truly inspired. Jennie’s cello pieces, feel both haunting and evocative. I’ve probably overused the word “feel” in this review, but on this album, The Rock of Travolta have really succeeded in conveying an emotional concept through their music, to the point where during the first half of No Pressure, I actually feel unnaturally relaxed.
As the album continues on, staying on storming form, the band show that they can manage to cross between moods and styles before you have had a second to catch up. The Goddamn Remote starts with an electronic base melody before veering into a crescendo which can only be described as “epic!” (yes, the exclamation mark is necessary). And Attack Formation shows that they are capable of writing heavy, chugging riffs without sounding clichéd or contrived.
TROT round things off in what you will have come to expect as a typically effortless fashion with Something’s Wrong with the TV Generation. Seemingly effortless, that is, because although on a rational level you know what went into its creation, the track, as with the whole album, seems to flow, almost organically, from the very pores of the musicians. As if it needed to be written.