Reviews

Roman
Empire

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After having spent much of the summer addicted to the Sons Of Anarchy soundtrack, Roman’s album Empire is a beautifully crisp addition to that world of authentic audio and organic musical swagger. The music has both the nostalgia of country rock from throughout the decades and the fresh and youthful sound and story telling of an artist on the verge of breaking through those mainstream barriers and bringing audiences something new and wonderful.

Come Over Here is the opener and takes on all of the above qualities, introducing Roman’s voice in a fairly spacious and live sounding arena, letting you hear those intricate qualities, surrounding you in the simple and seductive vibes that are everything the title implies.

Things take a turn for the more unexpected with Boy From Salt Lake, the story telling shows itself to fit brilliantly within this musical setting. The instrumentation is varied and rhythmic and bright, and the lyrics have you holding on proudly to every passing moment. The song has a definite country twang, though the music seems uniquely experimental and warm in a mildly orchestral or world-music influenced sort of way. Things even verge a little into modern pop with the melodic and lyric free latter half, adding a certain anthemic feel and really making you appreciate how effective a live performance would be.

Not My Fault fuses the pop and country vibes even further, offering an infectious melody and a superbly upbeat rhythm that captures your attention and throws any underlying sadness to one side while you listen. Saints follows on beautifully, presenting a gentler, acoustic yet again subtly orchestral musicality, with stunning instrumentation and a gorgeous melody – not to mention the added warmth and further dynamic of the second vocal part, a lighter, female voice, bringing a touch of contrast and brightening up the song even further. This one is a huge highlight, thought provoking and instantly compelling and memorable.

Only Love Remains has the pop-rock energy of a radio classic. The build up to the hook makes it hit with notable impact, and the warmth of the song on the whole comes with a welcomed bounce and brightness at this fairly central point within the project. Then you get the title track, a stripped back, piano-led performance that addresses Roman’s own place within the world and his personal journey to this point. The song has both delicacy and drama, keeping things simple instrumentally at first, yet evolving into a hugely atmospheric and blissful piece of music and melody.

There’s a touch of indie rock to Dirty Bird that brings the energy and the grit up to centre stage and reverts back to that Sons Of Anarchy vibe, making you want to drive fast and live life to the fullest. Without You Here lightens the mood a little, reintroducing the banjo, something which joyfully crops up at certain points throughout the album and makes you really wish for that live show. This song is a loving dedication to a significant other and works on both a personal and widely accessible level – it’s a song that celebrates togetherness, the sort that couples everywhere are likely to unitedly fall in love with. U-Me=0 keeps up with a similar sentiment, though there’s a jazz-soaked sadness to this moment that makes you consider your blessings and hope for longevity and lasting good times. This song provides a peaceful softness that is really well placed within the collection.

No More keeps the thoughts of love alive by means of an upbeat and easily addictive piece of music and writing. Some of the lyrics here are absolutely on point, expressing again those personal details yet reaching out and connecting with anyone and everyone who has been through similar experiences. This is the type of song you can find yourself listening to on repeat, being both provocative and loaded with great musical vibes.

The final song of the album is the appropriately titled Thank You. Giving thanks at the end of any notable experience is always a great way to finish, and in this case it brings together everything that’s been heard – the love, the adventure, the story telling, the musicality – and presents it in an open and unquestionably honest manner. The music sounds beautiful, as does Roman’s voice – one that is forever recognisable after spending time with this album. Celebrating life, friendship, and showcasing genuine and blissfully atmospheric musicianship; the songwriting is endearing and captivating throughout, and Thank You is the absolute icing on the cake.

Check out our in-depth interview to find out more about the artist & his music. Stream the album on Spotify. Find & follow Roman on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to stay updated, and visit his Website for more information.

Rebecca CullenMusician & writer with an MA in Songwriting.


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