Listen Up: Wednesday, January 23, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Tony Romanello

Counting Stars (Engine Shed Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, is nobody’s idea of an artsy-rock hotbed. Then again, between the mighty Flaming Lips and this guy (who hails from Tulsa, home of the Golden Driller and the Schusterman Center seed sower), perhaps a re-evaluation is in order. Proof positive, as if any more were needed, that what you think you know can change.

Twentysomething Sooner Romanello was the principal creative force behind his college band Murmur. When the band splintered before completing its debut c.d., Romanello finished it himself and released it under his own name and subsequently picked up every award the local Tulsa music scene had to offer.

On this, his third release, he wrote and sang all the songs; played guitars, keyboards, glockenspiel, and samples; and helped write horn and string arrangements. It’s an incredibly lush-sounding record, with almost every song floating on beds of gorgeous orchestration. Romanello cites influences like Brian Wilson, Elliot Smith, and Jeff Buckley, but this music reminds me of nothing so much as the long-lost, McCartney-infatuated early-’70s king of depresso-rock, Emmitt Rhodes. There’s an air of melancholia emanating from this disc like nothing I’ve heard since, um, the last Beck album.

As impressive as the sonics are, though, what’s missing here is the essential element of all pop-rock: strong melodies that stick in your head or tug at your heart. Romanello’s obviously a talented fella, but there’s nothing here that moves me or would keep me from punching buttons on a car radio.

Not to sound like some kind of provincial Foat Wuth-centrist, but in the last seven months, I’ve heard Tim Locke, the Chemistry Set, Alan, John Price, and even newcomer Bobby Zanzucchi all working in similar bags and mostly pulling it off better than Tony Roma. So there.


Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions