With nostalgia by the boatload and waves of tightly packaged guitars, The Roly Mo are careening majestically into our ears on this new cut ‘Control Yourself’. Glaswegian by origin and indie by profession, their latest single is an inviting and energetic three minute trip through rock and a particularly rough night on the town (god how I do miss those).
It’s a song that doesn’t rest on its laurels, constantly altering its setup throughout, as any good band ought. No verse is ever exactly the same; the rhythm section takes more weight at points to allow the guitars to ring out. What’s more, the message of the song is one of genuine caring and anxiousness rather than the kind of tough love you’d expect from its subject matter.
The Strokes are an obvious reference point, the chords descending semitone by semitone in a very Valensi-esque fashion. Later imitators like Circa Waves also spring to mind, particularly when it comes to the song’s more angular moments. However, there are elements that set the band apart from their influences.
The vocals, for example, are fraught with concern and intimacy. Brimming with understated power, the breathy lead-ins and lead-outs of the chorus sell you quickly on the sincerity of the delivery and lyrics. It calls to mind one of the band’s contemporaries: Junodream, from London. However unlike Junodream, The Roly Mo opt for an understated vocal with a more propulsive arrangement.
And propulsive it is. Starting instantly with little pause for breath throughout, the main riff is clear and, to quote every Tory MP’s favourite word at the moment, robust. ‘Control Yourself’ has a good mix too, warm and lo-fi feeling without sacrificing depth. There’s a nice injection of piano in the build to the final chorus, and the accompanying super distorted drum glitch makes for an inventive spin on a standard arrangement trope.
Ultimately The Roly Mo exist in reference to other bands rather than standing entirely alone. But they’re making the effort, and trying to distil their own identity. This new track, steeped in rock lore but with modern approaches peppered throughout, is a winning step in the right direction. And honestly, if leaning too heavily on nostalgia is this song’s biggest issue, then there’s really not much wrong with it. Especially when part of that nostalgia is for a good old fashioned night out. So listen to this to warm yourself up before we can finally kick this awful virus, and don’t forget to look after each other.