Romero Honey / Neapolitan 7″
Issued by Cool Death back in February of 2020, ROMERO’s debut was meant for a world that it has yet to see. The two perfect punk pop tracks that make up this 7″ should be blasted on a joyride with friends, to a sweaty venue crowd, or over the speakers at a late-night house party. Alas, the actual world has precluded any such activities. Fortunately, these tracks also sound great blasting in your headphones to whatever safe solo outing you’re stuck going on. The A-side “Honey” is built atop the same trebly, mid-fi garage punk foundation favored by fellow soulful pop aussies ROYAL HEADACHE, but the structure that ROMERO erects is decidedly more new wave—the melodic guitar line that kicks in at the ten-second mark could have been pulled off NEW ORDER’s Power, Corruption and Lies, and the singer belts out her lyrics like she’s channeling a mix of Debbie Harry and Fay Fife. It ends up sounding so bright and kind of life affirming. The B-side “Neapolitan” has more of a Stiff Records strut-pop vibe similar to what you’d hear from someone like the EXPLODING HEARTS or SHEER MAG. It maybe doesn’t quite match the highs of the A-side, but it’s still fantastic and serves as a nice complement. The greatness of this record is clearly the result of an ensemble cast, but it’s hard to deny that vocalist Alanna Oliver is the star. She has such a powerful voice and soulful delivery (apparently she cut her teeth in a BLUES BROTHERS tribute act!) that you can’t help but believe every word that’s coming out of her mouth. I hope more people can hear it. I imagine if these guys weather this shitty pandemic, more people will. One of the most essential releases to come out in the past few years!