For The Cause
Guest Contributor: Marc Brubaker
Atlanta’s Romeo Spike bills themselves as ‘futuristic classic rock,’ an interesting choice of words that seems to be a contradiction in terms. A band born originally out of an online songwriting project between members Mike Kunz (who was in Chicago at the outset) and Donn Aaron, the duo has assembled an intriguing collection of dreamy throwback pop with heavy classic rock influences.
For The Cause launches forth with a bouncy dance rock number, “Spaceman,” that is built upon a catchy pop beat and layered with a significant amount spacey sound effects and complimentary fuzz before segueing into a bridge that would be at home on a Peter Gabriel record. The album then wanders through a slower, ethereal pop track akin to some of the Smashing Pumpkins lighter fare before revealing the odd “Laserbeams,” which sounds like the love child of Bryan Adams and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The entire album seems to lack identity, which is not hard to believe when one factors that only half of the album had an outside producer’s hand upon it combined with detail that these songs were originally constructed while being bounced back and forth over the internet. By the end of the record, the rolling bounce of the opening tune has long since faded away, subsiding into several slow-burning alt-country tracks. It seems quite odd given where the album starts, and For The Cause definitely suffers because of it.
This is a shame, because the record boasts a few very solid tracks: “Starpower,” “Sara Baby,” “Specter’s Ghost” and “Cocaine Skinny” are quite good. But for every hit, there is a miss – “Laserbeams” contains an awkward character shift and lyrics, and the bizarre and overly deep vocals destroy “It’s Only Real” and “Yesterday’s News.” There’s also the matter of the good but out-of-place “Spaceman” at the outset of the record. There are a few middling tracks that round out the album, and these would probably benefit from a more unified personality between the songs. Hopefully, Romeo Spike will be able to solve this issue now that Kunz has moved down to Atlanta, because they are certainly capable of writing some good music.