Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Rome : " A Passage to Rhodesia"

This is Rome's 10th album. It'd fitting that Jerome Reuter found a home for himself on Projekt the long time gothic/industrial label.After a barrage of sound effects we get to the real songs. "Ballad of Red Flame Lily" kicks things of in a very groove centered manner that recalls Leonard Cohen. The folk strum with the darker Death in June qualities this project is known for doesn't hit til the chorus. A more traditional approach to this same flavor of dark folk is fully realized on "One Fire" which is even more Death in June like. Not to say Reuter doesn't have an identity for himself as this double album is a pretty ambitious feat, with a heavy political message to it.

He finds a more ballad like quality to "A Farewell to Europe". The songs are very to the point an lush in their execution. He returns to the more introspective commentary of the landscape he is reflecting on "The Fever Tree" that returns to a more Leonard Cohen texture. The album carries impressive momentum until "Hate us and See if We Mind". The melodies don't seem as strong on this one to me , though the song is far from filler, he has just set the bar pretty high for himself so far so there is going to be heavy scrutiny.

"the River Eternal" feels more like an interlude than a song to me. The synths create effective ambiance, but the spoken word doesn't do much for me. He starts to redeem himself on "A Country Denied". He still doesn't recapture the momentum of the album. He shifts into a slightly more upbeat feeling on "Lullabye For Georgie" which seems like the second movement of the previous song and has a slight Sinead O'Conner tinge to it. The lyrical theme continues to modulate it self through the album, taking an even darker, but yet slightly Dead Can Dance like turn on "In a Wilderness of Spite".

"Bread and Wine" sees the return of the synths. They wash over the intro of the song and almost continue to submerse the song in ambiance though the vocals float above the surface and hold their own with a rambling Americana like melody. Some elements of post- rock could be traced to te soaring mood he invokes here. The Past is Another Country is more of an outro than a stand alone song.

While I think it will grow on me it feels like after a really strong start the album begins to lose steam mid way through, the opener below is one of the best songs to come out this year so it's a shame the rest of the album did not live up to it's potential. Still an 8 is better than most and certainly demands to be heard at least once.

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