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New Roman Times
On The Sleeve
New Granada Records
www.newromantimes.net


The beauty of '80s music has apparently lived on in the band New Roman Times. And it's not just any part of the '80s music movement, nope - it's the dark and twisty version of pop that came out; and on their recent release On The Sleeve we've all got another big helping of the post-punk-electronic-infused-pop to enjoy.

As a summer release, it's really not on the top end of happy-go-lucky sounds for the sunny afternoons. But it would however fit perfectly in the next '80s classic movie. Another Sixteen Candles anyone? Rocking out with a girl bassist, this band is taking the appeal of two part harmonies mixed with well placed synths and running with it.

With an opening number like "Smoke In Your Disguise" you've already got a general tone to the album that's slightly upbeat and full of love-stricken lyrics. Now, if you're going to sound like the '80s then it's good to also sing about the '80s, which is why the song "VCR" is perfect. It's not just perfect for the title, but the electronic rock bass and slightly insane lead guitar which are easily reminiscent of an early version of The Cure. Now, probably the most promising song of the album is "21st Century Limited." There's a journey that the synths take the rest of the instruments on in the beginning that can easily be called impressive. It's that same journey which comes back around in the extremely catchy chorus and allows you to kind of forget about the rest of the song being slightly drab.

Oddly enough there is at least one song that bears a similarity to our current generation. "West End World" somehow mixes the electronic pop elements of Placebo with the pure alternative rock of Death Cab For Cutie. They don't bother with any emphasis on the two part harmonies in this one. Sure Josie (female bassist) is still there, however this time the lyrics don't play as big of a part and thus have no need for a harmony. And that dance level tempo will keep any foot tapping.

All-in-all the album is promising and talented. However, after a while the songs begin to sound very similar, if not completely the same. Though I suppose that was a crutch to many popular '80s bands. With this album being their sophomore appearance there's promise for a bit more experience and an astounding third album.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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