Roman Candle – Oh Tall Tree In The Ear

May 22, 2009

romancandleSometimes you hear a great single, and the album actually fulfills the promise of that single, rather having it as its sole highlight. I listened to Chapel Hill based band Roman Candle’s first single, “Early Aubade,” from their latest LP, Oh Tall Tree In The Ear, more or less at random, and immediately had a new favorite song. It starts out forcefully then gradually falls into a reverie, or the reverse of what you ordinarily expect a rock song to do. The album followed two weeks later, and it turned out the single actually closes out the record. “Eden Was A Garden,” another great song, starts out quietly, then opens up with the same country rock force with which “Early Aubade” begins. The rest of the album is as artfully crafted, though its art is subtle and unpretentious, as are the poetic and literate undercurrents that run through the song lyrics. Listeners may immediately be reminded of Wilco when first exposed to Roman Candle’s music, but a more proper comparison would be Okkervil River, another band who has taken familiar elements of rock, Americana, folk and country and made them into music that feels vital, powerful and utterly of the moment. Every now and then, an album comes along and reminds me what I love about rock music, and right now, Roman Candle’s Oh Tall Tree In The Ear is that album. Standout cuts: “Eden Was A Garden, “Why Modern Radio Is A-OK,” “Big Light” and “Early Aubade.”


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