On 2013’s Something You Can Take, the New York based band The Rooks demonstrate their ability to blend brisk melody with soothing, delicate harmony. Featuring hypnotic rhythms ornamented by gleaming, pacific vocals, the EP cemented their reputation for producing bold, electrifying soul. And while Something You Can Take introduced them to the public, the six-piece band has been fostering their own unique, individual style ever since their formation in September 2011. Playing music together as undergrads at Wesleyan University, Garth Taylor, Louis Russo, Gabe Gordon, Nate Mondschein, Spencer Hattendorf and Graham Richman unearthed a sound that honors tradition, even as it savors reinvention.
Released in January 2014, “Twister,” finds the band expanding on the mood and color of Something You Can Take. It’s a rich composition, layered with textured instrumentation that provides the perfect counterbalance to frontman Garth Taylor’s temperate lead vocal. Yet most striking is their proclivity for utilizing space. The Rooks always perform and write with measured restraint, providing just the right level of accompaniment to sweeten and enhance an arrangement. The same commitment and spirit fuels compositions like “Twister,” with a precision and finesse that is present in every note.
Opening with faded footage of the band, the accompanying video for the non-album single, “Twister,” emerges as a visual document highly symbolic of the group’s music: polished and understated, sentimental but composed. Soon after “THE ROOKS 2014” appears and disappears from the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, a fade to black gradually reveals a close-up camera pan of glaring color and shade. The white-hot flash of blue, green and red tinted stage lights illuminate the blacked-out lettering that spells “TWISTER.” As the camera’s speed increases, the focus is placed upon a single, silver microphone. As the musicians enter the shot, the camera floats around them, introducing us to each group member with all of the motion and perspective of a fly on the wall. When the camera later cuts to the group playing in a club, splicing those images with a scene of a silhouetted woman in front of a film projection of the group’s live shows, it breaks up the familiar, deftly avoiding repetition. Though the video’s most memorable moments are those spent sliding through the air, the camera dancing around the band members, weaving and drifting with an ease that replicates the groups calming rhythms. And in that sense, the camera’s movement and subsequent close-ups of the band performing provides the video with its very own rhythm that places its emphasis on the music. And by enacting a subtle approach that favors artistry over splash, The Rooks provide visual accompaniment that strengthens the listening experience instead of distracting from it. Be sure to check out the tour dates below as this is a show that’s not to be missed!
Article by: Caitlin Phillips