Modern Pressure

Daniel Romano

New West Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Lately, Canada's Daniel Romano has been as prolific as Ryan Adams was in his heyday, releasing one, sometimes two albums a year. Also, like Adams, Romano is prone to genre skipping, often bringing elements of country, folk, psychedelia, and Americana to his dizzying, unclassifiable sounds. Following on the heels of his very well-received and experimental album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Mosey, here Romano retreated to a cabin in Sweden to take a more solitary approach for his seventh release. Opting for a more retro-focused listen, he aligned his nasally vocals with layers and layers of sounds (Romano plays nearly all the instruments on the album) that most obviously illuminates a Bob Dylan influence.

Now, this isn't to say Dylan is the only influence here. Songs like “What's To Become Of The Meaning Of Love” with its backward guitars give nod to The Beatles, and the arid, dusty presence of violins and horns on “Modern Pressure” certainly draws parallels to current indie stars Calexico.

But mostly, Romano is just his usual unpredictable self. On tracks such as “The Pride Of Queens,” he shows traces of his early punk years in the guitar work, while the horns of “Dancing With The Lady In The Moon” bring a Mariachi feel. Album highlight “Roya” is a straightforward folk-rocker made to blast loud while driving down the freeway, and occasionally he moves beyond the throwback rock to deliver more modern moments like the ultra-melodic “Sucking The Old World Dry.”

It's unfortunate that many people only know Romano from his work with City And Colour, as his songwriting is some of the most creative, timeless, and unique that exists today. As if his three Juno nominations and three Polaris Prize nominations aren't impressive enough, Modern Pressure is hands down one of the best albums of not only his career, but of 2017, too.

Rating: A

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