Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Roman Line: Morning Portraits

I've seen the future of rock n' roll and their name is The Roman Line.

Okay, borrowing Jon Landau's self-serving prophecy about Springsteen is way out of line here since rock and/or roll is too long in the tooth for talk of the future but The Roman Line do make for one hell of a present.

In this present tense, it's the pop-punk underground that's supporting this band, who have been championed by Ben Weasel, had their album produced by Joe Queer and been given a place of honour (ie. the Canadian Invasion Stage) at this year's Insubordination Fest. The only drawback of such support is that the term 'pop-punk' shuts-down so many people's critical thinking and this 'it all sounds the same' dismissal takes over (even in positive reviews). This is unfortunate as The Roman Line are no genre band. With their emo album cover, their professed love of Springsteen and their Nashville Pussy-meets-Screeching Weasel image The Roman Line are pretty hard to encapsulate, even superficially.

While you can hear those hyper-melodic lead guitar lines popularized by Screeching Weasel all over this album and the layered choruses favoured by The Queers show up in songs like "With Friends Like You, Who Needs Firewood" that's really just the beginning of the musical allusions herein. While listening to this album, repeatedly, I caught a bit of A Boy Named Goo-era Goo Goo Dolls ("Jimmy" uses a few arrangement tricks straight from Johnny Rzeznik's book), The Doughboys (check out the emotive chorus on "If These Walls Could Talk"), Stompin' Tom Connors ("Worst Case Ontario" is a plywood-stompin country song that alludes to Connors' "Tilsonburg"), a Weakerthans-esque fascination with the intersection between geography and emotion (right down to their band name) and even Shane McGowan of the Pogues' near-ghost drops by on the brief "Talboy and Inkerman".

If the band can be encapsulated at all, it would be by the dictum that unites the past, present, future of great rock n' roll (whatever the fuck the sub-genre) - "It's three chords and the truth".

Support the band!



Merman Records



"I Am Providence" is from the band's promising-but-not-there-yet 2007 e.p., Between the Stirrup and the Ground .


  1. The "future of rock 'n' roll" quote was Jon Landau, not Dave Marsh.

    Keep up the good work...

  2. D'oh - I knew that!
    It was the writer-turned-manager not the writer-turned-biographer - I guess a lot of the greats had a music scribe or two in their corner.



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