Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast might recall that we had a little guessing game going on just before Christmas. Back then I featured two parts of a trilogy (here) from Hamburg’s finest indie poppers, Roller Derby, and mentioned that the final reveal was on its way at the end of January.
‘Can’t See You’ came out last week. Anybody who was hoping for every loose end to be tied up in a finale of absolute clarity will be sorely disappointed. I guess that life just doesn’t work that way. Instead, we get more insight into the lives of the two characters that we’ve become familiar with so far.
The video for ‘Can’t See You’ finds our duo initially in playful mood. On a secluded beach and in deserted waters, these are happy times. Blindfolds are used to heighten the experience, to strengthen the sensation of joy. And yet the menace of future arguments still linger. The sea here is quite calm but we get the sense that there’s choppy water ahead for this friendship. Happiness cannot be permanent. And that’s alright if the good times on the way are cherished.
Sonically, ‘Can’t See You’ is my favourite song of the trilogy. That’s not to say that there’s a weak link in the other two but this instalment takes the best bits of I Wish and Flying High and merges them together into a dreamy whole. I still get the influence of Camera Obscura coming through strong and a healthy slab of Alvvays. This is no bad thing.
What’s next for Roller Derby is anybody’s guess. With this trio of tunes now proudly announced to the world, their profile is rightly rocketing. A glance at the comments already secured against the video for ‘Can’t See You’ sees a healthy South American following emerging.
‘Take your time’, sings Philine in the opening line of ‘Can’t See You’. That’s also the way that Manu ends his E-mail note to me when I mention I’ll write a piece about the song. There is no rush for Roller Derby to do anything immediate. They’ve given us much to already enjoy.
Forming a band in 2020 can’t have been an easy task. It hasn’t stopped Hamburg’s Roller Derby from making quite an impact though. They’ve just released the second single of an intriguing trilogy and I thought I’d give Sonic Breakfast readers the heads up.
“You can write about the two songs but keep in mind that the first videos don’t match each other on the first sight. Only after the third video the coherent story will become clear. The third video will connect the first two videos. 🙂“, says Manuel, guitar player in the band when I ask him about the concept. I like the idea of a slow reveal, a bit of speculation and I’m all up for a guessing game about what is actually going on here.
In the opening gambit, the video for ‘I Wish’, we find our protagonist at the breakfast table. As croissants are consumed, we slowly get a sense that there’s something cathartic going on. Spirits are lifting as a relationship that is coming to an end is considered. While the inevitability of a break-up becomes more and more apparent, the appreciation for the other person becomes stronger: “I wish everything for you”, they sing as the chorus fades.
The music is ace. Roller Derby are a three piece and obviously students of wavey 80s sounds and modern indie pop. Philine Meyer has a vocal delivery reminiscent of some of Tracey-Anne Campbell’s fine moments in Camera Obscura. In fact, that’s the band that mostly springs to mind the most for me when considering comparisons. It’s quite a compliment.
Philine appears in the second video released on Friday. In Flying High, she appears in the dreams of our protagonist from the first video and proceeds to get involved in an affectionate bout of mirroring activity. Their touching is touching; the dreamy music ambles along with a subtlety that leads to surprise when the chorus has wormed itself into your head.
The final part of the trilogy and the big reveal is out at the end of January. Until then, we can only speculate about what the link might be. There’s plenty of personal growth being hinted at here and a sense that good things do happen for those that seek not to stagnate.
What do you think? The month will pass quickly as we ponder.