Review: Daniel Romano, “Finally Free”

Daniel Romano - "Finally Free"

A cohesive collection, Daniel Romano’s latest album “Finally Free” is best enjoyed like a film, in one complete sitting.

Welland, Ontario’s Daniel Romano is set to release another exceptional album for his extensive catalogue.

There’s a looseness to many of these songs which swing with ease that reminds me of “The Basement Tapes” by Bob Dylan and The Band. Believe me, that isn’t too lofty a comparison. Not to say this album is purely an exercise in nostalgia – far from it.  There’s middle eastern influences and many harmonic melodies with an Arabic flavor, and Romano continues pushing the versatility and range of his vocals.

Sounds swerve across the left and right stereo channels like a drunk driver on an empty highway, without regard for traditional and linear rules of the road. Each song is flush with beautifully plucked, lethargic and delicate acoustic guitar melodies. Percussion is sparse and often consists of only a tambourine or shaker. Romano seems determined to record songs with familiar sonic territory while avoiding what’s become traditional or routine recording techniques and composition.

Lyrically, this is a very contemplative and existential album.  Such introspection provides the listener a glimpse to his psyche and philosophies.  A metamorphosis seems to exist for the character in the songs. Is it Daniel himself? What is Daniel Finally Free from? His worries? His loneliness? His self-doubt? Lofty questions asked, though few answers offered except a chanting battle cry: “Sing, Sing, Sing; It’s Everything” on “Celestial Mains.”

One lasting question for this listener is… what are the “Gleaming Sects of Aniram”???

While lacking straightforward “hit” songs or immediately memorable hooks, Romano keeps each song harmonically interesting by incorporating nuances and skills he’s picked up from plentiful experience in the studio setting. Background vocals and harmonies are showcased in several tracks. His voice is often multi tracked, harmonized with itself, rarely heard as a single voice.

Daniel Romano continues to release a steady flow of beautiful work. Rarely is there a year without at least 2 records and for this listener, it’s never enough.

Stand out tracks: “Empty Husk,” “The Long Mirror of Time,” “Have You Arrival”

Visit Daniel Romano’s website.

 

Steve Murphy

A bit of a Renaissance man, Steve Murphy is a singer-songwriter, author, and journalist based out of London, Ontario. An avid vinyl collector and audiophile, his personal collection of albums is wide ranging and in the thousands, including four released from his band Westminster Park.

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