The sophomore release from Austin’s indie rock quartet, New Roman Times, is a compelling hook-laden gem full of aural glee. Not to say that this latest endeavor will recall lollipops and rainbows, but this well-constructed release will certainly make your ears grateful.
On the Sleeve may come from a more mature and edgier place than the band’s previous release, International Affairs, but the band’s love affair with early 1990s indie rock is unmistakable. From the opening chords and dulcet boy/girl harmonies, to the thunderous, yet sparse, final closer, On the Sleeve is definitely baring its soul.
The record is the resulting amalgamation of moody, but subtle 1980s synth pop, and throbbing, yet stylish, indie rock. The songs are well-constructed, the arrangements are lush, the percussion is crisp and catchy, and the vocals drone in earnest. Immediately, the band brings to mind the familiar sounds of stellastarr*, My Bloody Valentine and New Order, combining distorted guitar melodies with pulsating drum and bass rhythms. The slow-building charger, “West End World,” is probably one of the best songs on the entire album, and certainly one of the most danceable. “VCR” is another great song; a drony, post-punk experiment that only gets louder and more entrancing as it goes on.
On the Sleeve is a perfectly crafted album, full of hooks that will keep your head swaying and lyrics that’ll woo your significant other. New Roman Times may be wearing their hearts on their sleeves, but that’s what makes it so easy to love this album. (New Granada Records)
-Charley Lee www.myspace.com/newromantimes