September 9, 2014

EP: Roberta Bondar - Caustic

Noise rock gets spooky on Roberta Bondar's latest tape.

The band still hasn't started yet. It's 2 A.M. in February and I am this close to curling up on the venue's floor, which is soaked with melted snow and spilt beer. Then a fog machine appears, a strobe light starts spinning and Roberta Bondar take the stage. A wave of noise descends upon us. Watching from the edge of the mosh pit, I stare at the crowd pushing into each other. Everything seems to be happening slow motion because of the lights, and the pressing bodies look like they're made of molasses instead of skin and bones. The spectacle fits the sound.

Caustic is the third tape from the Ottawa four-piece named after Canada’s first female astronaut. Fronted by Lidijia Rozitis, who also plays in the all-lady howl-core side project Blue Angel, Roberta Bondar play experimental post-punk that's heavy on the haze, equal parts Sonic Youth and Savages while not imitating either. Album opener “Children” kicks off the 31-minute mini-album with a shriek of tension straight out of a horror movie. Are those killer bees? Nope, it's just noise rock. However, the feeling of suspense persists throughout the tape. The album is a distorted, melancholy slow burn, forewarned by Rozitis at the beginning: “I’ll take my time / I’ll take my time / I’ll take my / Time.” Steering clear of straight-ahead choruses and rhyming schemes, the intentional lack of conventional structure works best in “Palm Bay”, a six-minute climbing epic that descends into an organ-laden frenzy. Introspective without being overtly sad, Caustic reminds us of how it’s possible to find awareness within confusion, a feeling is best summarized in “STD”: “I can’t make sense at all / But I am here / And that is all.”


Listen to Roberta Bondar on bandcamp.

Alanna Yaraskavitch, a 2nd year journalism student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. When not photocopying the latest issue of her perzine, Alanna also writes about music for Weird Canada and Razorcake. Give her a holler on Tumblr or Twitter.