Total Time: 52:23
Listening to the first track on Romislokus' third release All Day Home, I was transported back to those quirky days in the early 80s when German artist Falco had a hit with 'Rock Me Amadeus.' The frisky digital percussion, and, in fact, the entire rhythm make 'Cool' very danceable. With the second track, the artier 'Dreg,' there are at first hints of solo Peter Gabriel, especially in the way vocalist Yuri Smolnikov sings, though he does so, understandably, with an accent. But you will also think of recent King Crimson during parts of 'Dreg,' especially during the 'chorus' (the title repeated several times) where the arrangement takes on a particularly angular aspect. The intro, however, is rich and creamy with smooth keys taking the lead, giving away to shimmering guitars.
Much of the album is filled with chiming guitars, sometimes taking on a twangy, country tone, as in 'Name,' which also at times sounds a bit like a polka-tango, and gliding into slide guitar, as in 'Tree By The Wall.' Of course there are 'real' chimes in 'Dreg.' The French-sung 'L'Amour' adds in sci-fi keyboard effects, in a piece that has Smolnikov sounding a bit like Mark Knofler (as he does elsewhere, too). 'I'm Tired' draws in a bit of funk to proceedings, ironically making this an energetic piece despite a rather muddy mix and subpar vocals. During 'If,' I kept thinking of the smooth jazz hit 'Captain Of Your Heart' by Double*. Smolnikov's deep, comforting cadences exude warmth, underscoring the sentiment of the piece – roughly when in doubt about me, 'remember my voice.' Smolnikov's manner is somewhat sleepy in this piece where percussion takes dominance. In to this mix is added the neo-progish 'Freedom.'
Guitarists Mikhail Voronov and Smolnikov both have a very fluid style of playing and this is one of the highlights of the band and of the album. Beneath and around this Evgeniy Gorelov plays liquid, spacey keyboard phrases. Mikhail Brovarnik is the man behind the often throbbing bass lines. Dmitry Shelemetev plays the drums, with Maksim Karavaev 'plays' computers (which may actually accounted for the swirly and spacey tones, as well) and Irina Yunakovskaya adds cello to the mix on the last track 'Captain Zero,' a pleasant if understated track. Somber.
Even with the opening track, the overall feel is very dark, gloomy. Partially due to Smolnikov's deep voiced delivery, partly due to the fairly sparse arrangements. Other than 'L'Amour' and the Italian-language 'Persici' (Perches On Ice), the lyrics are in English. This latter track sounds at times like a very mellow version of Fish's 'Lucky'. Because the lyrics are awkwardly phrased, it's hard to get more than a general gist of what they're about. However, Smolnikov has such a smoothly flowing vocal style, that it doesn't really matter. It sounds very good, though also at times a little dreary. For that matter, 'Name' also sounds a little dreary, though the guitars comes shining through.
This is a very nice release from Romislokus – the music is the what stands out here, as the band have a very nice sound. Especially when they eschew the digital drums, or least the strongly digital sounding drums. Without them, there is a warmth to the arrangements that takes some of the chill of the gloominess. Not entirely progressive but flirting on the fringes, just on the outside of the dividing line. Russian prog is emergent right now, at least as far as the rest of the world is concerned, and Romislokus is leading the charge of a new crop of bands.
You can download the album from the band in MP3 format, which includes three bonus tracks: 'Happy New Year,' 'To Be Alone With You,' and 'Love' (English version of 'L'Amour').
*at least, this is the only reference I find. The info says this came out 1986, but it seems like it should be older by about 10 years. Nevertheless, the interesting note is that Allmusic.com lists similar artists as Caravan, McDonald & Giles, Kevin Ayers, and … Liquid Tension Experiment. LTE? Perhaps 'COYH' was the anomaly…