Rotersand have carved out a unique musical niche: popular in Europe from where they hail, but still in a cultish underground in North America. There is no single genre that describes this musical project; rather it weaves together a tapestry of Dark wave, techno, industrial, and future pop all at once. With this sound, they deliver the antithesis of today’s empty club music, while simultaneously promulgating a socially conscious message. Yet, against this promising backdrop, Rotersand’s new album Capitalism TM delivers only in terms of beat production, not lyrical depth.
Hackneyed slave-to-the-man messages pervade the album and trivialize an otherwise interesting musical space for spreading politically minded messages to a wider audience. This is primarily seen on the album cover, which includes cryptic messages like: “you dwell in our matrix”, “like monkeys in a tree”, and “believing that you are free”. While this does open up questions of modern human existence, the hyperbolic delivery may lose the interest of the more intellectually mature listener.
The album opens with “Not Alone”, an uplifting trance-infused beat accompanied with the lead singer’s monotone but addicting vocals. This, and the next track – “Its about us”, are a call to arms for a “shift in paradigm”, a major theme throughout the album. In the title track, “Capitalism TM”, Rotersand producer/DJ Krischan Wesenberg shows off his skills with a metal intro that transitions into an EBM beat with psychedelic background sounds. Unfortunately the vocals are diluted with static. The single “Torn Realities” is a favourite that includes not only stellar production, but also meaningful and philosophically-minded lyrics, a combination not found in other tracks. It is a powerful yet solemn call to open our eyes and look beyond our daily satisfactions to find greater meaning.
In the sixth track, “Welcome Home”, the beat moves to minimal techno, overlaid with gloomy vocals. The track welcomes the listener “home” and indirectly explores different meanings this can take. Towards the end, fast drum rolls and a synth kick in, electrifying an otherwise calm production. “You’re Nothing” is a stand-out track with an exceptionally dark production and mangled vocals. This one truly evokes images of goth clad techno-heads dancing in a grungy basement club somewhere in Germany.
Overall, Rotersand prove wrong those who say a political message cannot be entertaining. Capitalism TM will catch any listeners’ attention, but mostly for its catchy anthems and techno-inducing comas, not necessarily the message.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ROTERSAND – CAPITALISM TM