If there is a group of enthusiastic, hard-working, musically inclined fellows out there that seem to actually enjoy what they are doing, as opposed to coming up with an excuse to sound like a bunch of arrogant and pedantic pseudo-intellectuals, it definitely is those endearing Russians known as Romislokus. One need not wait for a new album from these musicians in order to actually hear something new from them; chances are that by the time one is able to even think about it, a new track is already available on the band’s website. Yes, quite endearing indeed. However, expecting Romislokus’ music to be candy-coated happy-go-lucky nonsense as a result would be as misleading as thinking of Mr.T as a whimpering weakling or of Kenny G as heavy metal. Well, at least with the exception of a couple of tracks on All Day Home… more on that later, however.
With their new album, the members of Romislokus venture further into dark territories than on their previous Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn, although not in the direction of the chillingly authoritarian march of 'Absolute Control.' Instead, the band employs a pathway somewhere between the darker moods of The Cure and Depeche Mode and elaborates upon it with subtle computer detailing via large swoops of sound, quirky clangs, and other such effects. Thus the foreboding 'Dreg' is granted a slightly menacing chorus а la Morphine, 'If' is touching in its simple melancholy, and their sonic cohorts benefit from a similar accessible moodiness. Sacrificed, however, is that characteristically Russian balance between sweet naпvetй and almost brutal coldness that pervaded Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn; which does not detract from the music on All Day Home, but does bring about a change in its essence.
Of course, that doesn’t quite answer the number one question in every reader’s mind while checking out a review: how well does the music actually work? Well, it’s a mixed bag of results, certain elements working like a charm and others behaving, well, not too appropriately in their collaborating with Romislokus’ aspirations. Mikhail Voronov and Yuri Smolnikov’s guitars are a shining backbone in the whole affair, alternating between gliding arpeggios and energetic pop strumming as required, and the first six tracks on All Day Home are for the most part quite catchy compositions.
Simultaneously, however, Smolnikov’s vocals are far too bland for their musical background, and both 'Name' and 'Persici' are too honey-coated for their own good, so that the end effect of the album is quite weaker than it could have been. Furthermore, the thin production that kept Vinyl Spring, Digital Autumn from reaching its full potential reappears here and once again keeps the recorded music from corresponding with the musicians’ ideas fully.
But just like its predecessor, All Day Home cannot be categorized as a failure at all, and instead is another effort in Romislokus’ bag that probably would have been much more effective had it had greater production values. The matter here is that the potential isn’t fully realized, not that there isn’t any potential at all. And while on that subject, there is some brilliant songwriting that will actually embed itself into one’s brainwaves for quite a while if precautions are not taken previously. However, as has become usual with independent progressive acts, even if they have only a very subtle shade of progressive in them like Romislokus does, only time and an improvement in production will tell if this Russian act is finally able to fulfil the promise that it represents.