Romance Seven Inches of… EP

I know. This record cover is absolutely begging you to scroll on by. And I wouldn’t blame you if you did—I certainly let this thing sink to the bottom of my listening pile because of it. But do yourself a favor and listen to these tunes. ROMANCE is a four-piece who formed as part of First Timers, a 2018 Sydney music festival put on by Bryony Beynon (whom you might know from GOOD THROB, BB AND THE BLIPS, or numerous MRR contributions!) to promote representation in music. All bands who participate are playing their first live set together and meet two of the following three requirements: 1) at least one member has never played in a band before; 2) at least one member is a woman, a person of color, an LGBTQI+ or gender non-conforming person; and 3) at least one member is playing an instrument they’ve never played before. With this being vocalist Jane’s first time in a band and Ben’s first go at drums (he’s done non-drumming stuff in DUMBELLS and SHRAPNEL), I believe they meet all three. The band is rounded out with Max from BB AND THE BLIPS on guitar and Greg from DISPLAY HOMES on bass. This is their debut release, which is just seeing the light of day after being recorded back in 2019 and shelved for an extended time due to COVID. Speaking of GOOD THROB, it’s hard not to hear their influence on the six tracks that make up this EP. It’s a similar brand of rhythm-section-forward, garage-y post-punk with a nasty edge, provided in large part by a strong vocal performance seemingly delivered at the edge of sanity (Jane’s really going for it here, taking things to near Dani Filth registers at times—it’s quite impressive!). But whereas GOOD THROB leans post-punk, ROMANCE puts more emphasis on the garage-y side, almost pushing it in a surfy direction, while keeping things keenly focused on punk. Everything just sounds crisp and vital. It’s raw, it’s fun, it’s cool. It’s a great record!