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Music review from European Progressive Rock Reviews for album 'All Day Home' (in English)
The band Romislokus return with the follow up to their magnificent 2nd album 'Vinyl Spring Digital Autumn'. This time round the vocals are in English with one song in Italian & one in French due, no doubt, to the highly acclaimed critical success in Europe of their previous album. I have to add though that I had no problems with their last album being in their mother tongue which seemed give the band a dark edge and a sense of mystery. I look upon the voice as being another instrument that adds to the overall sound. I have to admit though that the opening track took me by surprise compared to their previous work. This song seems to have been purposely written for the European market and sounds as though it would go down well in Italy, as may the whole album. I thought 'hmm', this band are moving away from their highly original work to try and crash into more lucrative commercial areas. This was soon forgotten when they regained all the past glory and passion of their previous album on the following track 'Dreg'.
Next, the reworked 'The Tree By The Wall'. For this new rendition the vocals are in English and by anyone's standards this track is a million miles better than most songs composed today. If that were not enough they finish off this album with yet another equally magnificent reworked track, 'Captain Zero', with its jangly guitars and eventually, a haunting cello and female voices entering the fray. They lift this track into the stratosphere. A no.1 hit anywhere in anyone's book, if it got airplay. No reservation at all about this statement. I have to say though that the under use of the cello and the female vocals on this album is regrettable.
As for other tracks that stand out, Track 3, 'L'amour' has touches of ambient, rock and commercial influences and links effortlessly into the haunting opening of 'If' with its tasteful piano and laid-back feel that builds with crashing guitars and keys.
If it were not for tracks, 'I'm Tired' and initially, the opener, 'Cool' and 'Freedom', this album would have turned out as I expected. I have to admit that even the latter two songs grew on me and eventually turned out to be among my favourites.
'All Day Home' is not so dark, brooding and musically thoughtful as their previous offering and Yuri Smolnikov's vocals are not so husky, but nonetheless this is a grand third album. It encroaches and embraces more of a commercial direction, no more so than on the delightful lightweight and happy 'Name' and 'Persici' where Yuri Smolnikov's superb vocals are shown at there best, nice touches from the cello on this track. One last thought, commercialism is not always a bad thing, is it? As long as the band don't loose their identity along the way. After saying that in their short career Romislokus have never been afraid to experiment or embrace any influence or direction that grabs their attention . A wonderful album that grows with every listening. 85%
Music review from InternetEd Music Review Site for album 'Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn' (in English)
1. The Snow Of The Rails
2. The Face Of A City
4. Absolute Control
5. It Is Winter
6. Miss The Target
7. A Tree By The Wall
Romislokus is an experimental musical force that should not be overlooked. These capable Russian musicians combine elements of acoustic and electronic music to construct a unique sound that is part progressive and part ambient/atmospheric, forming a fusion that is unclassifiable in any other way. The acoustic side of Romislokus' sound is represented by violin, cello, drums, and vocals, while the electronic side is represented by keyboards--the electric guitar falls somewhere in between, acting as the bridging force between these instruments. Though the song titles are in English, the lyrics themselves are sung (very skillfully) in Russian. However, this does not serve as a barrier to identifying with Romislokus' sound in any way because the music itself transcends language in its subtle brilliance.
The digital noises that introduce album opener 'The Snow Of The Rails' seamlessly lead to the song's clever drum, bass, and guitar interplay, which in turn lend their sound nicely to singer Yuri Smolnikov's soft but powerful vocals. Pristine and ambient, 'The Face Of A City' utilizes staccato guitar melodies with precise rhythmic cohesion, and also includes a memorable chorus that is melded to acoustic instrumentation in the form of string accompaniment. An experimental ambience pervades over the keyboard and guitar driven '78' with its large-scale composition and mood shifting nature combined with a plethora of diverse sounds from bells, to violin, to distorted guitar. The eerie 'Absolute Control' begins with powerful marching music and later shifts to a more progressive nature, showing this group's talent for combining electronic and acoustic elements. In 'It Is Winter,' musical bells ring both ominously and joyously in proclaiming the arrival of winter, as the song's crystalline guitar notes resound in a rich enveloping harmony. The bass driven 'Miss The Target' is full of subtle ambience accented by Yuri's deftly restrained vocals, while 'A Tree By The Wall' is an introspective piece backed by rich atmospheric keyboards, subtle rhythms, and excellent melodies. Surprisingly, 'Tuner' leans toward techno/dance music in its bassy motions and catchy looping guitar notes, and on the opposite end of the scale, the emotional and mostly acoustic song 'Substance' uses beautiful string playing and controlled vocals to deliver its musical power. Album closer 'Smoke' proves to be a majestic song complete with smooth instrumentation and expressive melody, blending the album's pervading atmosphere perfectly. Overall, Romislokus' Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn is a very good album that transcends genres and, in so doing, presents a sound that is distinctly ambient and astoundingly memorable.
Summary: A unique progressive/ambient musical experience
Music review from Aural Innovations for album 'Between Two Mirrors' (in English)
Romislokus - 'Between Two Mirrors'
From Aural Innovations #18 (January 2002)
It's a pity more bands out of Eastern Europe and Russia don't get heard in North America, because there are some great things going on there musically. Take for example, Romislokus.
They dub themselves a 'project' rather than a band, and are comprised of members from a variety of backgrounds ranging from economics to biotechnology to law to computers. A few of them are also classical musicians. Their idea is to bring their diverse non-musical and non-rock backgrounds together to create a unique and diverse sound. 'Music is philosophy in practice,' one of the band members said in an e-mail communication. 'In any case, philosophical sight on the world is the attribute of every good musician. Music helps us to live.'
Listening to it, I hear a variety of styles blending together, including progressive rock, space rock, orchestral sounding pop, ambient, dance, and classical, the latter due in a large part to the moody cello-playing of Irina Unakovskaya - not something you hear often in rock music. Then again, they have a relentless passion for new ideas and new sounds. 'As far as the professions of Romislokus are different from each other so everyone's approach to music is different too. Common opinion is achieved with the help of a common searching for new ideas. It is created on the place of crossing of everyone's knowledge and everyone's lifetime experiences. It is very interesting: to open the way nobody walks and to use it in our songs.'
You may think this might lead to something so experimental that it would be difficult on the ears, but the music of Romislokus is surprisingly easy to listen too. They manage to bring a very nice accessibility to their sound without sacrificing their integrity or their goals. The songs range from the spacey opener, Cold, with it's throbbing, slow sequences and it's curious X-Files-like melody courtesy of keyboardist Evgenity Gorelov, to The Thunderstorm is Coming, an upbeat, funky groove with great accents from Unakovskaya's cello. The dark and edgy Termites is a stand out, with its eerie electronic effects, chant-like chorus, and deeply spacey breaks, and is contrasted nicely by the breezier Minute, with it's jazzy rhythm guitar and psychedelic synth sounds.
Vocalist (and rhythm guitarist) Uriy Smolnikov has a rich and versatile baritone. He can sing with a deep and almost menacing resonance, then turn easily to a light and emotional delivery. Sometimes he sort of speaks the lyrics too, sounding a bit like Till Lindemann of Rammstein when he does. The lyrics are all in Russian, a choice made by the band for a reason. 'To our mind the English language gives the rhythmic basis of rock song,' one of the members said. 'The rhythmic structure of the Russian language is different from English; that's why our music has it's own specialty.' Personally, I have always enjoyed listening to music with vocals in other languages than English, even if I don't understand what the vocalist is singing about. It always lends an exotic feel to the music for me.
Whether Romislokus have achieved their lofty goals is probably up to the listener to decide. But I can tell you that this album was a great pleasure to listen to (and made for some great late night driving music too!)
For more information you can visit the Romislokus web site at:
(Yes, there's an English version)
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald
Music review from Progressive World.net for album 'Single 2003' (in English)
Romislokus. The most endearing band in Russia. Alright, alright, some people might reasonably argue that the Red Elvises is the most endearing band from Russia. And some men will definitely vouch for tATu, although sexual preference will definitely be the only factor considered in that case. But goddamn it, right now I say Romislokus is the most endearing band in Russia, and if one of my two remaining loyal readers disagrees, they can just desert and forget they ever crossed paths with me! (Great, I have just diminished my following by a half…)
Leaving matters of court martial aside, however, here is why Romislokus is so endearing: not only are these Russian musicians recording new material every chance they get and making it available to the public, and not only are they genuinely nice guys, but they are one very reliable unit as far as the quality of their output is concerned. Despite the band’s subtle musical evolution, which takes it away from both the progressive and its Russian roots step by step into a sound that each day is closer to that of a slightly dark eighties British pop ensemble, each Romislokus release is pretty much as enjoyable as the other, with a consistency that would make Michael Schumacher proud. There will be a few pieces of catchy brilliance, a few middle-of-the-road tracks, and a couple of tunes that the listener could pretty much do without. The production will unfortunately be too thin. The end result will be pleasant, if not outstanding. The best song on the album will be embedded in one’s brain for days. And one will be left wondering where these crazy Russians would be if they had a hot-shot producer at the helm.
The best song on the album, by the way, is probably 'Trance Aviation Pilots,' with its calm melancholy flow and elegant guitar sparseness. Otherwise, it is usually when Romislokus turns the amps up or decides to bring on a bit of anxiety that the listener is helplessly engaged, such as with the angular pop of 'Come Tomorrow,' the effective tension of '????? ????? (Loosing The Time),' or the fun rock of either 'Rocking Time' or 'In Flanders Fields.' As for the rest of the songs … well, you figure it out from the preceding paragraph. And while it is unfortunate that Romislokus has not yet released an effort that justifies a landmark status, its fans should be quite glad that the band has yet to disappoint them, and gladder even that these Russians don’t seem to have any interest in throwing in the towel anytime soon!
Music review from 1340mag.com for album 'Trans Aviation Pilots' (in English)
Romislokus is a Russian band out of Moscow. They describe their music as 'post rock, new alternative, progressive rock.' 'Trans Aviation Pilots' is their fourth CD.
I would personally describe it as 'euroblues rock' if I can coin a category; it's very bluesy eurorock. It's really, really listenable. It has some interesting tonalities that we usually don't hear in music from the US. I have to admit this CD had to grow on me. I didn't get it the first couple times I listened to it. After the first three or four times I really started to hear and enjoy it, but it's worth the effort. It's clear English isn't the singer Yuri Smolnikov's first language but that doesn't detract from the sound at all. There are several songs which are sung in Russian (Cyrillic?), too, which add another interesting flavor to the CD. The disc is nicely produced, equal to other recordings of this type. It also includes a music video which is interesting although it's almost a grunge styled look.
If you're into more mellow blues rock or eurorock this CD is worth checking out. Three of the songs can be downloaded from their web site.
Key track: Trance Aviation Pilots, Being in a Plastic Box, Dreg (Video clip)
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