Please, indulge me… I have something to get off my chest.
I find it very unsettling that the bands that have dominated “ alternative rock radio” over the last few years feel it is necessary to steal… check that... borrow the sounds made popular by the giants of my youth.
At thirty-two, I have come to the frightening realization that, in the context of music years, I am old; old enough for the music that helped me through my rough childhood to come back into vogue. For example, Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs takes her cues from Chrissie Hynde and Siouxie Sioux, MTV “geniuses” The Killers are merely Erasure with white trash facial hair and Bloc Party, although a solid band, come across sounding like a discount version of Gang Of Four.
There seems to be a deep seeded need in the alternative bands of today, whether they categorize themselves as emo, rock, goth, synth pop or whatever, to copy their heroes note for recycled note.
Lakeland, Florida’s The Dark Romantics sadly are no exception to this rule. With Some Midnight Kissin’ the groups’ latest offering from Lujo Records, E. Collins, Dean Paul, Amanda Jones, Carla Jones and Fifi Salomon mix dashes of glam power pop with the attempted dark vocal of The Cult’s Ian Astbury and the supreme melancholy of Morrissey.
Now don’t get me wrong, Some Midnight Kissin’ is a very good album on quite a few levels. The lyrics are well crafted and strong throughout, making the tracks on the album catchy as hell, in spite of the bands’ apparent wishes for the songs to come across as deep or disturbing. “She’s A Fire,” one of the best tunes on Kissin’ has the sharpness of Johnny Marr-like guitar work with the vocals of an early Bono layered over the top. “This Is The Sound”, the song on the album that has the most potential to be a radio hit is a low, smoldering barnburner that should make just about any rock fan stand up and take notice. “I Gotta A Feelin‘” the album’s closing track, oddly is the cut that sets the dark tone for Some Midnight Kissin’. Here’s a tip: Try listening to the album in reverse order to better appreciate it.
The Dark Romantics' myspace page sights their influences as “love+heartbreak and good+evil”; I believe that it is more likely that their influences are perceived depression+the cure and 80’s music+mascara. Some Midnight Kissin’ shows that The Dark Romantics as a band have a solid understanding of musical styles to build upon. The drumming is solid, the guitars are razor sharp, the keyboards at times can be haunting, and the bass gives them a steady bottom end.
With all of these pluses, I cannot say that I find anything unique or original about this band. There are moments like “Where Do We Go From Here?” when I felt a flicker of hope in the music; hopefully, on their next record, The Dark Romantics will stoke that flicker into a full-blown wildfire and create something that is truly their own.
“Where Do We Go From Here?”…. that is an excellent question.
- Danny R. Phillips
1. So Confused ( And We Like It )
2. A Million Bucks
3. Another Song For Another Night
4. Of Loving Me
5. Hey Love
6. Where Do We Go From Here?
7. She’s A Fire
8. This Is The Sound
9. Baby Boy… Baby Girl
10. I Gotta Feelin’
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