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Roche Limit: Sometimes We Must Change Shape

 

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Strange and beautiful, Roche Limit's latest effort creates a new balance between art and experimentation. Roche Limit's David Righton is an abstract artist as skilled at manipulating sound as Escher and Dali were with images. It is sometimes as if he does not labor over his music at all, but rather spawns it fully formed and ready to leave the nest. With his last album, White Light, Roche Limit drew from Beck, Nine Inch Nails, and Skinny Puppy to create a sound that incorporated the dark, the light, and the offbeat humor that added up to a genre-defying amalgamation of folk, experimental, and industrial. Simply stated, it was weird and wonderful. With Sometimes We Must Change Shape, all of these elements have returned (plus a touch of The Beatles and Pink Floyd), but as the title indicates, the end product has managed to change shape. Fortunately, the new shape is more like a newer, sexier Dr. Who than what cheese evolves into after a few months in the fridge. It may take a few listens for this album to present its full beauty. On first impression, the songs sound like a mix-tape of Beck, Weezer, and Ween B-sides. They're cute, catchy, and weird, as expected, and the lyrics are often silly, but by the third listen, the intriguing play of Righton's mellow voice versus the inspired musical decisions seeps in. It's difficult to believe all these songs are written by the same man. Many of the songs on Sometimes We Must Change Shape carry on where White Light left off. "My Friend Ship," the first song on the album, is a quick reminder of the Roche Limit style - it is quirky, cute, and begging for a late '70s-style animated video. But on this album, it's actually the darker, more musically driven pieces that steal the show. Gorgeously composed "I Am," "Since I," the haunting "Hey Man," and didgeridoo and whisper-driven "Night Walk" remind the listener that you never know what you can expect from the mind of Dave Righton. In Escher's world, you can walk around a building and end up on the roof. In the world of Roche Limit, you can walk around the building and end up on another planet. Beautiful and full of surprising depth, it seems that time only makes this act better.” - Charity VanDeberg

— Regen Magazine

Somewhere in the wilds of Vancouver, British Columbia dwells a man; some might call him a misfit - others a reclusive genius. Whatever your view of Dave Righton, or Roche Limit, as he styles himself, you'll find something to like in the music he creates. Shades of Beck, Nine Inch Nails and Ween inform his musical choices, wrought through voice, guitar, keyboards, didgeridoo and the magic of computers. Roche Limit's third album, Sometimes We Must Change Shape, dropped in May of 2009, and may just hold some of the most unique electro/organic compositions of the year. Sometimes We Must Change Shape opens with My Friend Ship, holding to the intensity of Reznor and the lyrical and rhythmic magic of early Beck. It's a mid-tempo piece that would be welcome in any reputable club in the Western Hemisphere. Some One Else ponders the need of those in the limelight to change their personae in order to maintain their level of notoriety, pointing out the shallow nature of it all. The arrangement is deeply rhythmic and varied in sound and construction. Monkey Music has a distinctive vibe that's a bit too mellow to be danceable but still makes you want to move around in a post-Industrial setting. Roche Limit opens Cereal Offender on a more acoustic note before busting into a funky mix of acoustic and electronic instruments that will have you dancing and laughing at the same time. You'll also want to check out Greed, Nightwalk and I Needed This. Roche Limit is so derivate that the sound he creates is unique. Fans of early Beck material in particular will love Roche Limit's mix of Rock, Folk and Electronica. As a whole I thought the album better than average, and there are some individual tracks here that are must-hear. Sometimes We Must Change Shape ends up being a good musical experience with a few rough spots; definitely worth the time.” - Wildy Haskell

Wildy's World Music Blog

Eclectic one-man band defies convention. A “roche limit” is the smallest distance at which a natural satellite can orbit a celestial body without being torn apart by the gravitational force. Vancouver based one-man-band Roche Limit’s new album pays homage to this idea, blending folk, pop, electronic and industrial in a carefully balanced defiance of convention. Self-described as sounding like “Beck, if Beck still sounded like Beck,” Roche Limit further fights tradition by never performing live, so in order to enjoy his unique, eerie, infectious creations, one will have to purchase them.” - Caitlin Baird

Youthink Magazine

It’s hard not to listen to this new record from local artist Roche Limit (a.k.a. Dave Righton) without hearing another one-man-show recording artist lurking in the background: Beck. From the first track to the last, Beck’s fingerprints are all over this album, serving in part as a catalogue for the different sounds and postures he has taken on over the years. It’s also pretty clear that Righton hasn’t exclusively been listening to the good parts of the oeuvre; some of Beck’s more annoying tendencies also make appearances here and there (see the tongue-in-cheek rap on “Some One Else”). That being said, Sometimes We Must Change manages to please, despite the burden of that all too familiar sound. There are a lot of good ideas here, and the record manages to balance its everything-and-the-kitchen-sink production style with focused, catchy hooks. On the more pared down tracks like 'So Sorry', Righton’s ability as a songwriter shifts front and centre, and these moments prove to be some of the most satisfying on the record. Providing that Righton puts the Beck aside for a while, Sometimes We Must Change seems like a step in an interesting—and in terms of the Vancouver music scene, unique—direction.” - Aaron Goldsman

Discorder Magazine

Sometimes We Must Change Shape, the sophomore release from Vancouver native Roche Limit (a.k.a. David Righton), is a chameleon. While the album is sandwiched between electronic opening and closing songs, it shifts and develops throughout its 12 tracks to present ambient, poppy, indie rock and quirky influences. Despite the heavy use of synthesizers throughout much of the album, an equal emphasis is placed on Roche Limit’s primary influence: Beck. In his biography, Righton describes, “Roche Limit is what Beck would be if Beck still sounded like Beck.” This is prominently displayed through tracks such as “Take the Party” and “Greed.” Contrastingly, “Cereal Offender” offers quirky background vocals and instrumentation. Sometimes We Must Change Shape is an album that must be listened to in its entirety to catch each of its many identities and presents a variety rarely heard in music today.”

— The Spill Magazine