You can hear the Roxy Music influence the first moment of the first track on the new Romislokus album. Though singer Yuri Smolnikov is no Bryan Ferry, the bouncy, catchy melody is inescapably Roxy’s. Shifting gears from a somewhat experimental space/trance progressive rock band, the Russian group now ventures into Art Rock and with mixed results.
The band consist of Evgeniy Gorelov on
keyboards, Mikhail Voronov playing
Guitars, Yuri Smolnikov on rhythm-guitar, vocal, Dmitriy Shelemetev on
Drums, Maksim Platunov programming computers, Mikhail Brovarnik on bass, and Irina Yunakovskaya on cello.
After opening with “Cool”, the next few tracks, “Dreg”, “If”, “Freedom”, and “I’m Tired”, mix a blend of mellow avant garde electronica with indiscrimative mediocrity. That’s not to say that the songs are bad, it’s just that they blend together and virtually sound like the same track. There’s also the obligatory French lyrics. Though a drummer is listed, the continual use of a drum machine is a nuisance in that the programming sounds like some of the 80s style prototypes that doesn’t get in there and kick ass. There’s some crunchy guitar here and there, but nothing really comes out at you.
Track 7, “Name” is a playful and melodic ditty that gets you almost wanting to dance, but it has a wonderful nostalgic element about it as well. “Persici” is sung in Spanish, adding to Romislokus Euro Art-rock aspirations. The last three tracks in fact, give the album a strong ending, leaving you wondering what happened to the middle.The closer, “Captain Zero” is a great alt-rock tune in the vein of the UK band James.
And I like all the swirling synth effects though out as the band certainly knows how to weave electronic subtleties better than even Roxy Music did. The greatest problem is the songs themselves. The CD is sandwiched by good tracks (one being a lift off their previous album), but contains a lot of filler. Obviously, continual listens bring out the differences in songs, but the album still lacks the overall punch and inspiration of their earlier works.
If you like the Art-Rock side of progressive rock or the "Avalon" era of Roxy Music, you may find something you like here. But my suggestion to Romislokus is that if the band wants to pursue the art-rock scene, they pay closer attention to the writing of more diverse, captivating songs.