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Debut Album Review on Romance, The Divide

Updated on August 27, 2011

The Band Romance with their Debut Album - The Divide

This is a review of the band Romance. I am reviewing their debut album, The Divide.

As you can see, I have highlighted, in my opinion, the stand out tracks. Here is the tracklisting:

  • Give them What They Want
  • Face on the Sun
  • Killer in the World - ‘Stand Out Track’
  • Waiting by the Ocean - ‘Stand Out Track’
  • Futurewave
  • Still Alive - - ‘Stand Out Track’
  • Paris is Burning - - ‘Stand Out Track’
  • The Order
  • Twentytwelve - - ‘Stand Out Track’
  • Pillars
  • Automatik

Drew Jackson - Vox, Guitar  Michael Ribagin - Bass  Joshua Fant- Drums  David Blake - Lead Guitar
Drew Jackson - Vox, Guitar Michael Ribagin - Bass Joshua Fant- Drums David Blake - Lead Guitar

Introducing Romance and Reviewing 'The Divide'

Romance suggests a band that is all wine and roses. This label is far from the truth. They are in fact a hard-hitting, post-punk rock band from Seattle, Washington. The Chameleons, The Sound, Editors and The Horrors come to mind when making musical comparisons. If you are familiar with post punk and you haven't heard of 'Romance', other bands mentioned will give you a flavour of their style. They do have a sense of their own identity, however.

Singer Drew Jackson’s voice is like ‘The Daleks meets Interpol’. His 'song in drone' is mixed with a dark, deathly pyre within a melancholy musical macabre. Taking this into consideration, however, the band could be critised for recycling this style. However, it was good the first time around and seems to be fresh in the young ears of today's Emos. This has been demonstrated by the successful Editors and The Horrors.

The debut album, ‘The Divide’, demonstrates a ‘cloak and dagger’ style of music. This was not their first release, however. ‘When Things Are Better’ was released in 2006 as an E.P. This featured ‘Paris is Burning’ which is now included on ‘The Divide’ album. I've sited this as one of the ‘stand out’ tracks.

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The Divide has a chanting, repetive style that might affect the listener to a sense of hype.

The tracks on ‘The Divide’ have similar themes that run through the album. The lyrics have a ‘chanting’, repetitive style that goes hand in hand with singular thunder drumbeats. ‘Twentytwelve’, my sited ‘stand out’ track, examples this; chanting ‘tell them all… what you know’ repetitively.

More common themes continue with a tribal beat in unison with the vocals. This may give the listener a sense of hype.

‘Give Them What They Want ’, the first track, appears to set the agenda to the album. ‘This fire’ is chanted, offering ‘tight drum and guitar rifts. This is a common theme throughout the album. Toward the end Drew has a sense of desperation in his voice whilst he echoes ‘wooooh… this Fire!’

This ends abruptly on a single guitar stroke. ‘Face on the Sun’ is a good filler and a pre-curser to their ‘Killer in the World’. A video for this has been produced, presumably with the hope of the band becoming signed. The chorus has a great musical hook. The accummulation of drum, bass, guitar and lyrical repetition: ‘There’s a killer in the world and he wants to find you… he’s already in you!’ This might insinuate that we are all potential killers.

Romance - Killer in the World

Death Themed and Shoe Gazed... 'what's calling you to life, calling you to die...I've seen your eyes and it's all over!' Gloomy, eh?!

I have sited ‘Waiting by the Ocean’ as a stand out track. Themed again on death, the influences of ‘The Sound’ and ‘The Chameleons’ are strong here. The rifts are very wave-like as in ‘ocean’. The desperate voice asks: ‘Why Cant you see me, I’m waiting by the ocean, why can’t you feel me, I’m sitting by the ocean… what’s calling you to life, calling you to die… I’ve seen your eyes and its over!’

‘Christine’ by Siouxsie and the Banshees appears somewhat similar to 'The Divide's' ‘Futurewave’. This track is lighter than the others with a twinkling guitar style'. This song looks beyond the first thrashes of love. After the rose coloured glasses have lifted, what is left?

My chosen track, ‘Still Alive’, in my opinion, is one of the best on the album. It is hypnotic, tribal and has a funereal aura to it. The words 'judgement' and 'persecution' come to mind on its listening. The input of reverb, echoe and spooky vocals seems to give the track a haunting feeling. 'Still Alive' ends with a crescendo mish-mash mix of lunatic drums, guitars and bass.

If you are aware of the bands ‘A Place To Bury Strangers’ and ‘I Like Trains’, you might be able to identity the europhic energy created by this crescendo.

Sounding very 80’s ‘New Romantics’ without the synths, 'The Order' has an Eastern sound in places. This is created by a guitar rift. Again, the lyrics are dominated by darkness and macabre. ‘Pillars’ (of despair) follows through similar themes of gloom, as in the rest of the album, whilst the last track has energy and pace..’Automatik’ features singular thundering drum beats with overpowering guitar rifts. .

Romance as a team appear to glue well together. This is important for this style of music - precise timing is the key. They do seem to achieve this from what I have heard on the album and I really think they are a candidate for a record signing. 'Death by Romance' is more apt a title for this band. Lets hope they can keep their heads down and shoe gaze out of the shadows.

This work is covered under Creative Commons License

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