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If you haven’t heard Columbia, MO natives It’s Me: Ross yet, quit playin’ and do a listen. My lil brother, Trevor, turned me on to the stylings of the eponymous Ross, Marielle, Spenser and Quintin, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
The four-piece outfit has shared bills with the likes of Japanther, Twin Peaks, and Hoops, and has amassed a fairly large catalog of music almost exclusively available on Bandcamp and YouTube. Their sound brings an unbelievably refreshing twist to the post-DeMarco, chorus-drenched indie pop style that has become so widespread in the last few years, fusing smooth, catchy grooves with angular, complex riffs (they sometimes self-describe — perhaps jokingly — as “Himalayan salt lamp influenced prog”).
It’s Me: Ross dropped this video Friday for their November 2017 single, “The Knife,” which marries bloody, vampiric visuals with the frantic licks carrying the track. Some instruments unusual for the genre appear in the arrangement, namely pan flute and marimba (maybe vibes, but I always get them confused) reminiscent of early ‘80s Oingo Boingo.
In a genre where vocals can lack presence, Ross’s are particularly strong, all the way from the rhythmic verses to the howl at the song’s climax. I’m always impressed at the rest of the band’s tightness and control, which serves the groove and makes the group’s work on the fretboard stand out when it counts. “The Knife” is a culmination of that discipline, where every part of the arrangement does just what is needed to make room for the mood and emotion of the song to come through.
The video is punctuated by a visually trippy transformation sequence accompanied by the track’s synth and digital pan flute outro where we see (SPOILERS) our protagonist cross over to the other side. The slowed down melody carried out on the pan flute made me feel like I was playing Golden Sun on my Game Boy Advance SP while under the influence™.
It’s Me: Ross’s latest video installation does their genre-bending track mad justice, and is a pretty spoopy-yet-fun watch to boot. These folks have a better feel for today’s musical pulse than most of their contemporaries, and are definitely an act worth keeping an eye on.