Ten albums is about what a small record label can release in one year. There are many small labels who will and can release more, tiny labels would find it difficult to release even that many records. Canada’s Daniel Romano has released ten records this year alone. The always prolific artist has shown that he can not only keep putting out new music, but that what gets released is head and shoulders above artists who release one album in a year. His tenth release comes from Daniel Romano’s Outfit, and How Ill They World Is Ordered is a mixture of singer songwriter lamentations and traditional rock n’ roll arrangements that takes you on a journey you’re happy you took. Sprawling in its reach and tight in its representation, it’s like nothing you’ve heard in a good while.
Aside from his songwriting, the one thing that has always made Daniel Romano stand out is how he arranges his music. There’s always this space where the song is unto itself rather than a cog in a much larger wheel. The album opens with “A Rat Without A Tale,” delivering this aspect home. The cache in how the song mixes rock structures with these amazing backing vocals and an organ is one thing, amplifying horns into the mix is another. How he envisions the song itself with spoken word vocals tossed in, the keys stabbing against an electrifying guitar solo and drums that snap like sticks may break soon are just a small sample of the genius here. This occurs again on the swarthy tones of “Green Eye- Shade.” All of the previously mentioned elements are here as well, while the song has a more Bourbon Street atmosphere to it.
With “Joys Too Often Hollow,” Romano steers the ship closer to the singer songwriter realm without getting too foggy. The almost Eastern tone of the guitar mixes well with the reserved stride, the instruments play well together as the organ sets an undertone that pulls things all together. While Romano gets a bit twangy on “Drugged Vinegar” he keeps that close, adding these hypnotic backing vocals that have a more psych feel than what typically gets called psych. The stabs of distorted guitar that cut between this vocal chorus and the horns creates a sound that’s closer to Gram Parsons than other modern artists who are going for that sound.
And though the masterfully written timbre of “A Secret Still To Be Betrayed is one of the best songs you could hear all year, the favorite comes on the straight ahead sound of “First Yoke.” Mainly due to the bombastic nature in how the song rolls out. Opening with horns blazing and all instruments going full tilt grabs your ears with immediacy. While most artists would toss the opening away, Romano brings it back while mixing his vocals and the brass with backing vocals that lift the track up. The way the bass and the drums are mixed keeps both in your ears and the organ creates a melody underneath that’s like nothing you’ve heard in years. In a world where some artists don’t release one good album in a year, Daniel Romano has released ten, this being his best yet.
How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is ready to purchase physically directly from You’ve Changed Records. It can also be streamed on all platforms or purchased in all digital outlets.
Image Credits: Photo by Rosie Cohe.