New Perspectives

Amelia Romano

Independent release, 2017

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A harp enthusiast since the age of nine, San Francisco's Amelia Romano released her first solo album while still in high school. College life then brought her to Cape Town, South Africa, which helped shape her music. Upon returning to the Bay Area she formed a couple bands while learning how to play the electric harp. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 New Perspectives, Romano's second solo release, recruits local players to help flesh out Latin rhythms, blues, and a host of other influences on this accomplished affair.

The album positions one of the strongest songs, “Smile,” at the beginning, where a soulful, restrained opening abruptly segues into an upbeat, key friendly collaboration with Josh Mellinger and Pablo Davila. The track shifts in tempo and mood several times, illustrating much talent and diversity. “Crazy Day” follows and is a darker instrumental offering, mesmerizing in its delivery yet still dreamy and with unique percussion.

One of the many positive traits here is wide range of sounds, not only from Romano but also from the large number of hands she has helping here. “It's About Time” is a plucked honky tonk tune, while others, like “Nataliana,” are just Romano and her strings, which emits a high level of grace and beauty. And while we're on the topic of grace and beauty, Romano has turned it into a highly refined art form, especially on the calm, soothing “Salutations,” which also utilizes aching strings, and the delicately playful “Defying Gravity.”

Romano's eclectic prowess culminates with the pizzicato strings and percussion of “Besame Much” and the Latin flavor of “Joropo Ortiz.” In other areas, she's equipped to enthrall with the hypnotic “Crazy Day” and the aptly titled closer “Credits,” which exits with an upbeat blues lounge feeling.

At 15 tracks and an hour of listening, expect to devote some time to New Perspectives. Although Romano and company are so deft at their global fusion of sounds, going the distance here is a pleasure more than a chore.

Rating: B+

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