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Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Romantics: 'National Breakout' Breaks One Mold For Another


I've yet to read anything interesting about the odd nature of what appears to be The Romantics second record.  Whether the cover image is prefabricated or honest, it still implies the contents to be a first record. I think even the title of the record begs the same. Then there's the sound ... thin, scratchy, indie !  Not the posh and cheesy imagery of the first and third albums.  It's as if they're a different band with a different management team. National Breakout is an album worthy of the same respect as other up 'n' coming Power-Pop bands of the time.  It's themes are a bit weightier than the typical soft boy/girl approach ... love gone jaded instead of expectant. Not a favorite theme of mine, but a better approach for fans of edgy early-60's singles from Stones type bands.  Also, there's more variety in the construction of the tunes.  The album is actually edgier than The Beat, Get the Knack, 20/20, Shoes, and probably any more I can think of.

Particularly meaty for me are "New Cover Story" and "Poor Little Rich Girl".  If these tunes were played today from any new band, they'd get a respectful write-up.

Now, I'm not gonna lie.  I love the hits from this band for all the reasons that those hits are great, but understand, this record is what people who wouldn't touch their hits with a ten-foot-pole would relish as if they had found a cool band, but instead this record will be doomed to languish in the tepid catalog of a sometimes good, sometimes lame retro early-60's Pop-Rock band.  And so, like the bands mentioned above, their time couldn't come, 'cause it had already been. There's nothing wrong with that.  Looking back now, it's refreshing to have a retro Merseybeat band or two out there who knows EXACTLY how it should be done when one is in the mood to lend an ear. Least we forget ... this was the generation just after the trailblazers of the '60's that learned from the best with the love for the craft that could never be anything other than genuine love for the history of Rock 'n' Roll and they'll "send it along, with love from me to you" ... "da da dum, da da, dum dum dum".

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