Roma 79 is a hard band to get into, especially since “Heads Down” is such an ugly track. This is not to say that the track is poorly-conceived or recorded, but rather that the track feels a little off. The band is not working together as cohesively ass they could be, with the drum-beats of Aaron really sticking out like a sore thumb. There seems to be a little better overall sound for “Disposed To Violate”, but there seems to be a problem with the driving instrumentation of the track tending to swallow up Jeremy’s vocals along the way. When Jeremy really kicks up eir vocals to the next degree, adding a certain growl (not enough to really sully the smooth, almost-Oasis like style to ey’s inflection) that struggles to lift itself above the instrumental fray.
The much more nuanced “Kill The Sun” is perhaps the first real cohesive, strong song for Roma 79. The thoughtful instrumentation moves away from just being as hard and as fast as possible, and really goes into the business of creating an atmospheric sound to the disc. “Gold” seems to really rely on Rome 79’s dream-pop influences, but really does not shine until Jeremy’s vocals end for a few seconds. Then, while it is just the bass, guitar and drums one can hear exactly how intricate of compositions that Roma 79 puts forth on their “Great Dying”. After one can fully get an appreciation for this, Jeremy’s vocals come on as the cherry topping, bringing the music to an entirely new level. Continuing this slower tempo for “4M01”, there seems to be a little bit of foot-dragging as the disc’s once frantic pace turns to something resembling molasses. When the authoritative drumbeats come to prominence in the second part of the track, there seems to be a building fury that threatens to shake down the entire structures that Roma 79 had created on the first half of the album.
There is no lack of experimentation on “The Great Dying”, and while the band is Protean in their refusal to assume the standards of one specific genre, Jeremy’s vocals really tend to tie together all the compositions on the disc. The disc really reaches its peak during “The Spin”, which uses a catchy drum-beat and guitar dynamic to really bring Jeremy’s vocals a different (and exciting) sound that cannot be found anywhere else on the disc.
Top Tracks: The Spin, Gold
Roma 79 – The Great Dying / 2005 Ascetic / 9 Tracks / http://www.roma79.com / http://www.asceticrecords.com / Reviewed 26 October 2005