Back in 2012, Russian magazine LAMM ran a contest to find young bands interested in winning a chance to have their demos produced by major acts like A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Arcade Fire, and Nite Jewel. The lucky winners were featured in a compilation, which showcased a unique crop of talented young musicians from Russia. One of those acts was Roundelay, whose track “The River,” produced by Arcade Fire’s Jeremy Gara, immediately caught my eye when I first heard it months ago. Consisting of more than 16 members (a female choir led by producer/songwriter Dmitrii Kolevatykh), it took two more years before the band released their debut album, Russian Melodies, with Kolevatykh citing perfectionism and too many conflicting schedules as causes for the delay.
Unlike the lightness of their original “River” demo, their debut is grittier, with rougher patches and a folkier spirit. To accommodate to the new sound, the new version of “River” is faster, with a claustrophobic bass keeping the track feeling more like a late night jam session at a coffee shop than a dash through the mountainside like the original. It’s for that reason I still think the original is superior, but not by much.
If you’re looking for a new band with tons of potential, Roundelay’s album is an impressive debut that’s worth checking out.