Formed out of the ashes of Dunedin bands Bike and Funhouse, Ben Grant (bass and vocals) and Justin McLean (guitar and vocals) began The Roulettes in 2002, picking up drummer Mark Queenin on the way. Over the last dozen years, they have released EPs and featured on the second Outrageous Fortune soundtrack, but have only now released their first long-player.
Mixing punk-pop and indie-rock with a dollop of ’60s-inspired melodies and singing (First Song of Summer sounds like it could have been from one of the British Invasion bands), The Roulettes have made an album that is thoroughly enjoyable. Short and sweet at just 30 minutes in total, there is a lot to like, especially if you like rhythm, riff and attitude.
The laid-back ’60s vibe continues on Headroom, while a punk DIY ethic comes through on Disappointment – somewhat ironic, as it most certainly is not. In the age of the manufactured and polished pop song, it’s good to hear that the humble garage guitar band still exists. The Roulettes’ debut album has a broad appeal – mainstream and independent broadcasters should find something here, and I’ll be going back again for more.