- Roost.World, Cheapbabyy27
Roost.World's Cheapbabyy27 instantly evokes visions of an alien spacecraft descending to Earth. The ship's titanium-alloy entrance ramp extends downward into billows of vanilla vapor. The Burlington band's front person, synthist, songwriter and likely alien explorer, Zack Schuster, glides out of the craft as if floating. LEDs trim their iridescent spacesuit. Gigantic speakers pop open from compartments all over the ship, blasting the throbbing, four-on-the-floor grind of opener "Rollerblading." Humanity is destined to twitch and pulse to the unrelenting dance beats.
At least that's what comes to mind in the gurgling first moments of the newly released EP.
Schuster, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, is a club kid through and through. They have released post-punk and dance music under the moniker Roost for a few years and recently changed it to Roost.World to differentiate from other bands with the same name. In Vermont, though, the group can be called simply Roost.
The consistency of Schuster's persona becomes more defined with each release. Intentionally or not, they have created a quirky character whose murmured phrases and overall nonchalance clash gleefully with their focused, high-energy music.
The band presents only three new tracks on Cheapbabyy27 — a title that sounds like a Grindr screen name. Schuster teams with the newly solidified lineup of drummer Graham Peterson and synth manipulators Mike Harris and Brayden Baird, who also plays guitar. Future Fields producer Eric Maier brings it home. Schuster recently confirmed by email that remixes of each cut are imminent, but they were curiously tight-lipped about who's doing the remixing.
When Schuster sings, "You're planning a trip for weeks / When the moment came / You couldn't leave the house" on "Rollerblading," listeners might incorrectly assume they're referencing early quarantine. The increasingly dense, bass-heavy banger, inlaid with piano droplets and guitar curlicues, actually came out of Schuster's desire "to be more open about writing about personal things like gender/sexuality," they revealed. Though still relatively opaque, their lyrics about yearning to course down the freeway on Rollerblades — presumably while sporting some fluorescent streetwear — imply a desire to be breezy and carefree, unbound by outside constraints.
"Rituals" sails in on terse, tickled guitar and distorted beats. Schuster's rounded, throaty voice bellows over effervescent synths. The song exemplifies how Roost like to layer their elements bit by bit until they've coalesced into a flashing, slashing colossus.
Stinging final track "Discotheque" is the band's flagship song, its cowbell nodding to the era when disco became house. The tune conjures images of sweaty scenesters writhing in slow motion, strobe lights blinking, a Morse code message saying, "Party the fuck down."
Roost currently have the distinction of being one of a few Vermont bands making heightened, intelligent dance music. Schuster is devastatingly charismatic and provocative, two qualities essential for such highly stylized music.
Cheapbabyy27 is available at roost.bandcamp.com.