Friday, June 30, 2006

Album Review...The Wee Hours Review by Roman Candle

A hour long commute from Durham to Franklinton is completely worthless unless you can use it to give a first listen and formulate a review to the new Roman Candle album. I bought the album yesterday evening (June 20th) at Barnes and Noble at Briar Creek for way too much money. The B&N guy was very friendly until I insisted that he put this album up on the "employees recommend" rack.

Anyway, the way I would summarize this album is: Chris Stamey (the album's producer) is just like the rest of us - he puts his pants legs on one at a time. Except, once his pant are on, he makes (what should be) gold records.

I've been listening to local music for 14 years now, and this is by far my favorite act to come out of the triangle in that time. I still remember being excited to see my friend Tyson play with Thad Cockrell,who was already one off my favorites, only to be blown away by the opening act (Tyson was certainly right about them). We've all loved their live shows, and Says Pop! was a nice collections of the songs we heard there. The Wee Hours Revue, however,is a brilliant remaster/remix/re-recording/re-engineer/re-whatever of those same songs. I can clearly make out Skip's vocals (I always wondered why patients wereon the savings and loan and thought watching commas in the air was just plain silly)and every layer of instrumentation is audible (keyboards and guitar tracks are eitheradded or brought up to a more appropriate level) . There are a few tracks wherethe tinniness of the original vocals is evident (particularly Help Me if You Can).While the relative rockers (You Don't belong to This World, I Got a Reason) are still my favorites, the ballads (Sookie and Merciful Man were not compelling on Says Pop! but shine here in my opinion) are the songs that pay off from the new sound the most, including the quasi-bonus track (Driving at Morning is listed inthe liner but not on the back of the CD case).

All-in-all a fine recording that lives up to the wonderfully crafted songs of the Matheny's et al. I look forward to the release party Thursday and hopefully don'thave to wait as long for a recording of RC's other fine songs (Waiting for June,Modern Radio). I also hope the outside world will take to this band as much as I have, so that we are able to hear RC's music for many years to come.

Update after CD release party on June 22nd: The show was brilliant with a great turnout, and lots of my friends were there. My brother-in-law Dave (a mighty fine musician in his own right) was able to come and compared them to a cross between Oasis (definately a strong pop element)and the Rolling Stones, not a bad description, but I added "if they were from Wilkesboro, NC" because if that wasn't added you would miss the American/Southern sensibility that is also key to the RC sound. They are my favorite band, and if you like music, you should buy their album and tell your friends. I got to talk to the band a bit after the show, and they are as nice of people as they are compelling musicians.