Nearly two decades before Jack and Meg White went thrift store shopping for matching red polyester uniforms and spawned rock's latest Gap-like trend, guitarist Dexter Romweber and drummer Crow were actively putting the guitar/drums duo concept on the map; first in Chapel Hill, N.C., then across the country. After releasing nine records as Flat Duo Jets, Romweber and Crow split in 1998. Romweber is back with his third solo album, and it's a record that begs the question: Why did I spend all my dough on those White Stripes and Black Keys discs? This is the real thing, kids. Garage blues at its most surfalicious.
My fetish for space rock is no secret. Neither is my love and respect for The Oktober People. But even despite my often hyperbolic praises of them, I can't find nearly enough gushy adjectives or sentimental turns of phrase to describe the depth and breadth of their long-overdue debut. Guitarists Nate Santa Maria and Sean McCullough share a magical intuition that manifests in brilliant, shimmering harmony and counterpoint figures. Rhian Baston (bass) and Chris Moffatt (drums) make cunning use of dynamic swells and shifts that underscore the already roiling passion and intensity inherent in the songwriting. Absolute fucking genius!
There's a handful of good songs on the Soledad Brothers' third release, but it's a handful that doesn't quite make up for the laundry basket full of bland, uninspired filler that makes up most of the record. A good indicator as to just how little songwriting prowess went into making Treason is the fact that one can sing the verses of “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” over all the mid-tempo tracks on the album, which sounds better than the songs alone. The Soledad Brothers appear to be trying to prove that the garage-blues revival is officially out of gas.