Review: Jovontaes - "Roll The Dice"

Jovontaes - Roll the Dice
(Burger Records/Gnar Tapes 2013)
"Jovontaes fully embrace the surf rock style they've often dabbled in"

I've reviewed their albums, seen them play live on the radio and I've even done an interview with them, yet I still can't quite wrap my head around the sound of Lexington, Kentucky's prolific psych-rock trio, Jovontaes. I'm fairly certain that Roll the Dice is the band's 10th release, yet somehow they haven't committed to a musical formula yet; sometimes Jovontaes assume a noisy punk guise, other times taking on abstract, spaced-out auras. Roll the Dice is probably the band's most straightforward effort to date, fully embracing the surf rock style they've often dabbled in. It's very evident on the album's first track, "Burto Fernl", sounding like a screechier, more sporadic take on the Batman theme song from the 60's. "Don't Die (or die)", the shortest song on the tape, might even be an homage to Dick Dale's signature combination of tremolo picking and heavy reverb. "Cyclone", the standout track here, has a looser feel, cycling through a laundry list of warbly guitar effects and gnarly drum fills. Roll the Dice is probably my favorite Jovontaes album, but even its raw recording quality can't capture the band's stellar live sound. If you get a chance to see these guys in person, do it. Sample some Jovontaes jams below.