Roe Deers presents his fascinating debut full-length Salt Town Boy, a leftfield collection of wild sonic tales filled with dusky moods and punk attitude. The first LP to be released on Good Skills, the label Roe Deers runs with BDHBTS co-conspirator Titas Motuzas, the album brings together tracks produced in his Vilnius studio over the past six years. It also features a series of unique storytelling vocal contributions from an international list of friends and colleagues.
Roe Deers is a Lithuanian-based project led by Liudas Lazauskas. A regular at Vilnius institution Opium and a key member of the city’s fertile scene, he’s long been breaking the rules of genre in his explorations of the uncharted territories of murky electronic music, releasing on labels like Omnidisc, Turbo, Nein Records and Throne Of Blood.
The Salt Town of the album’s title is Druskininkai, the Lithuanian spa resort where Roe Deers grew up and first began DJing at a venue run by his parents. The breadth of styles and moods he was exposed to from an early age can be heard across these 12 intriguing tracks, which blend elements of beat science, electroclash, post punk, italo, krautrock and EBM into a deliciously intoxicating brew.
The skewed motorik pulse of opener and lead single ‘Trident’, featuring apocalyptic intonations by French-Canadian lyricist C.A.R., sets an offbeat, ominous tone that prevails for the rest of the album. Vocal contributions from Israeli producer Niv Ast (‘Late Night Tale’), Norwegian troublemaker Sex Judas (‘Rodeo King’) and Berlin-based singer Aquarius Heaven (‘Walking Down The Streets’) each bring out the moods – vampish, febrile, industrial – that permeate Roe Deers’s textured, percussive productions. At the album’s centre are two tracks that point to the past and possible future of the Roe Deers project: first, ‘Thème’ features French post punk band Order89 in a compelling disco-noir moment that recalls his earlier club EPs; then, regular collaborator Palmės Žiedas provides Lithuanian vocals for ‘Tarp Raudonų Šviesų’ (‘Between Red Lights’), a frenzied howl of a track that fits an entire film score into its short three minutes.
The instrumental pieces on the album have their own stories to tell, from the dusty dive bar meditation of ‘Flying Carpets’ to the paranoid proto-techno pulse of ‘Celebrity Theme’ and the 11-minute cyclical epic ‘Never – Ending -’. As the last moments of cinematic closer ‘Fin’ play out, we realise that our trip down the twisted paths of Roe Deers’s beguiling sound world is coming to an end; but we also know that to go back in again all we have to do is press play.
Ahead of the album release on 4 November, Roe Deers will be performing a Salt Town Boy live show at Vilnius’ Gallery on 30 September (details here). The album will be followed by a remixes EP.
Following last week’s release of Trident, Rodeo King is out today. Watch the video below.