Canada’s Daniel Romano has had a pretty busy year. Technically, his latest release Finally Free is his fourth release in 2018, with two records available only during his tour dates in the beginning of the year, and an Ancient Shapes release as well, an artist’s fourth record in a year might not be their best work. Of course, that’s not the case here as Romano treads down a rabbit hole of psych, sixties rock, and folk inspired sounds that make Finally Free just as strong as albums he’s released in the past.
There’s a magical mystery to the tales that Romano is telling on this release, where he treads close to sounds made by acts like The Beatles and The Kinks, while still taking all of them into a new direction. The album’s opener “Empty Husk” seems like a folky song until a third way through when it takes a rock turn that’s so far out of field, that you won’t see it coming. Romano keeps things up beat with “All the Reaching Trims,” complete with dual vocals and an acoustic noodling that steers from his early country releases, but’s still as endearing. However the third track “The Long Mirror of Time” is where the truly wonderful sounds come in. Complete with an organ and these ringing guitars, Romano takes his sound further into the sixties, possibly closer to when Dylan went electric than anything else he’s done in the past.
There’s a lot of the past here, but Romano isn’t retracing anyone’s steps. The almost hypnotic and indigenous notes that open up “Celestial Manis,” the soft and rhythmic way he structures “Between the Blades of Grass” around a piano and percussive instruments is like nothing else, and the folk heavy psych mysticism of “Have You Arrival” could place Romano on lists he’s never been considered before. This is psych, it’s folk, it’s so much at once that you have to revisit tracks only to discover new instruments and techniques you missed on the first listen.
The biggest standout of the release that seems to embody the whole vibe of the record would be “Rhythmic Blood,” where all the sounds that came before and after find their way onto the song. There’s a psych folk vibe with multiple instrumentation that feels closest to waking up on acid in an ashram in the middle of the Mojave. If Romano was trying to go somewhere else with this record, then he achieved it while he holds our attention with each and every note.
You can stream Finally Free on all streaming sites, you can purchase it digitally in all E-shops, or you can purchase it directly from either New West Records or from You’ve Changed Records. Daniel Romano will be on tour from tonight in Montreal at Bar le Ritz PDB until March 01, 2019 in Edmonton at Starlite Room. A complete listing of his tour dates can be found here.
Image Credits: Photo Courtesy of You've Changed Records.