EP Review: Julez and the Rollerz: ‘Is This Where The Party Is?’

Posted: by The Editor

There seems to be a significance to the title of Julez and the Rollerz’ Is This Where The Party Is? being phrased as a question. The EP starts with a bit of hesitancy, pushing “something out there waiting to bloom”—a party, a change in nightly routines, a change in the stars—but still asking if this is the right place or way to find that something new. That feeling of hesitancy is mixed with a swagger from the instrumentals that dip into different buckets of classic rock and roll sounds for a record that, in the end, makes its own party, morphing existential yearnings into greasy guitar solos and the urge to blow up your everyday life into explosive hooks.

Is This Where The Party Is? feels sequenced like a live set, with opener “Sorry I’m Just A Waste of Time” setting the record’s baseline energy and hinting at where the Rollerz will go on the record. The verses are packed with self-deprecating-but-fun lines like “the last time I was told / to not take things so personally / the instructions were not so clear,” there’s a blaring guitar solo, and the snarky chorus gets an additional kick from the synth that saturates so many of the hooks here. It’s followed by “Be Something New,” a track that puts the spotlight on the transformative desire that runs through the record, starting with an alleycat bassline before leading into a chorus of “can you guess my sign? / I don’t wanna be constantly defined / by the way the moon and stars align each night” that gets a few switch-ups on the subsequent passes. Here, the synths form both a backdrop for another ripping guitar solo and an extra layer of melody that floats over the bittersweet chorus, while the verses are sprinkled with revelations like “if the mundane of everything I do these days / has taught me anything / it’s that I love to fuck around.”

Julez and the Rollerz crank the energy up with “Wildest Fantasy,” the extra punch and quicker pace noticeable right away. Lyrically, the track picks up the push for transformation, even if it simply comes from a new party to go to, or a new crush to fall for, as vocalist Jules Batterman exclaims “I need someone to be / I need someone to see my face in / every wildest fantasy / oh again, again,” over the record’s most active instrumentals yet. The tune follows the Rollerz bowling through most of the track before a mini psychedelic detour and culminating in the whirling repetition of “I don’t feel so alive” an“even the real ones will cry at night.” 

Instead of trying to top the frantic energy of “Wildest Fantasy” right away, the Rollerz instead lean on that track’s psychedelic side, as “Confess” takes the haziest, most relaxed approach yet in the verses. There’s a quick turn for the choruses though, with a tempo flip that takes things from the slowburn of the smoker’s section to the wild energy of the mosh pit. The back-and-forth lasts for a bit, but it’s only right that the high energy wins, and we’re hit with yet another gnarly guitar solo.

“Think About It” reinforces the feeling that Is This Where The Party Is? is perfectly sequenced for a live set, as the group jumps off the greasy opening riff to push the tempo a skosh further here to close the record out. As a record closer, the tune highlights everything that hit so well leading up to this point: the hooks are massive and direct enough to make an impact on first pass, the band’s energy is as palpable as their technical skill and tightness as a group, and, most importantly, it’s a whole lot of fun. Most tracks on the record sit around three minutes, but Julez and the Rollerz stretch “Think About It” comfortably out, expanding on the psychedelic nods in the previous tracks for an extended section that only makes the raging return of the opening riff that much more impactful as a final statement.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Is This Where The Party Is? is out everywhere today with cassettes available via the group’s Bandcamp.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

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