Romeo Riot – Sing It Out Loud Review

Released by: Kivel Records

Release date: Out Now

Genre: Glam/Melodic/Hair Rock

 

Line-up:

Ty Sims – Bass (Bombay Black)

Jace Pawlak – Keyboards and Vocals Erik

Johnson – Guitars and Vocals (Bombay Black)

Scott Miller – Guitars (Tango Down)

Mark Giovi – Lead Vocals (Former Vocalist of Farcry – High Gear and Optimism albums)

 

Track Listing:

01. Room To Run 
02. Streets of Babylon 
03. Sing it Loud 
04. Twist of Fate 
05. What if We were Wrong 
06. Same 
07. Cry 
08. I Want to Try 
09. Every Now And Then 
10. Best Nights of our Lives

 

In this day and age of digital wonders, it has become accepted practice to discover music via such services as Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. I’ve been a digital believer since early on, even dabbling a little (OK a lot) in the world of illegal downloads (I’m neither proud nor ashamed to admit that, but I will follow up my confession with this: if I downloaded something and liked it, and if it was findable and affordable I typically bought it sooner rather than later and if the opportunity arose to go support them live I would do it. Doesn’t make it any less illegal, but there it is.) I’m “active” on many music based Facebook pages, however I had to put active in quotes as I tend to mostly lurk, with the exception of one called Melodic Mafia. Though I suppose I’m most known to listen to and review more “goat killing music” as a friend of mine calls it, one of my first loves was Melodic Hard Rock/AOR type stuff. I guess I’m a weird freak in that I can go from listening to something like Air Supply to Goatwhore without really missing a beat, and not really finding it that odd (though yeah it is an abrupt change.) While in these many groups folks post videos and whatnot of songs they either love or are promoting (whether they’re the band members, label owners, whatever.) I am a serial “liker,” but frankly I rarely check them out. If it’s something I’ve already heard, then clearly I don’t need to watch the video for “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the millionth time…unless I have a spare moment (but even then, not so much.) When John Kivel of Kivel Records posted a video for his latest band Romeo Riot, something compelled me to give it a whirl. Could’ve been comparing it to early Bon Jovi (I still hold an affinity to those early records,) but mostly I had a moment and many of the folks within The Mafia have great taste in music, and I find myself sampling more than just liking stuff there. I absolutely loved the song so I went to Spotify to check out the whole thing. It wasn’t available, so I said, “What the hell, I’ll buy it!”

On my first listen of the album, Sing It Loud, I had this feeling of comfort and familiarity with it- kind of like how I feel about days long gone when I was discovering bands like Bon Jovi, TNT, Ratt, Twisted Sister, and the like, where it felt like the soundtrack of my life at the time. Of course, some of that familiarity stems from the fact that I recently discovered the solo albums of keyboardist/vocalist Jason Pawlak, and three of the songs contained here are taken from those albums, but Romeo Riot altered them enough to give them a brand new life all their own. Vocalist Mark Giovi has a huskier approach vocally than Pawlak does on the originals, but again it injects a new feel to them making them a bit heavier than his solo records. Giovi’s name may ring a bell for Farcry fans. Also joining the line-up are two members of Bombay Black bassist Ty Simms and Eric Johnson supplying guitar and vocals. Rounding out this already stellar line-up is Tango Down’s Scott Miller. With this pedigree of musicians you would expect nothing less than an incredible album, and that’s exactly what you have with Sing It Loud. This CD exemplifies everything I love about melodic hard rock: immediately memorable songs, catchy guitar hooks, powerful background vocals, and a powerful vocal delivery that stays in the pocket perfectly. Thirty years ago this album would’ve fit seamlessly with stuff like Night Ranger, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard, and has the potential, at least to my ears, of holding the same feelings I have for those albums now in 20-30 years. With tracks like “I Want To Try,” “Room To Run,” and the brilliant Olivia Newton-John cover “Twist Of Fate” plus my favorite of the Pawlak songs “Cry” you have what may very well be one of the best, most perfect melodic albums to be released in a very long time. One of the biggest attractions about Sing It Loud, other than just how great it sounds, is the lyrics. Yes, some of the subject matter is tried and true stuff (love, love lost, inspirational, etc) yet it’s the route the words take. I love how they’re written, taking more of a story teller approach like JBJ does, and others like Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn, where instead of just tossing out the some trite clichés, they paint vivid images of hope or whatever the subject matter may be. Like with “What If We’re Wrong” you can feel the pain of love loss, but you also feel the heartbreak of maybe that loss should never have happened.

Romeo Riot’s Sing It Loud reminds me of better times, and has never failed to bring enjoyment to me in the short time I have had the CD. If you’re familiar with any of the other bands associated with the members here, you can guarantee that the musicianship is superior within this band, but you can also take to the bank that they’ve taken bits from each of their bands and created their own thing, while at the same time creating this atmosphere of déjà vu while listening to this record, transporting me back to my younger days where I was so excited about discovering so many new bands. This is definitely a band I will love for a lifetime and will continue to keep my eyes on. If you haven’t already grabbed this album, then you need to. I don’t believe you will be disappointed by it at all.

 

Written by: Chris Martin

Ratings: 10/10

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