CD REVIEW: Ed Roman - Letters from High Latitudes
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Roman brings the mojo"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, R&B, Jam Band, Intellectual Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: Dave Matthews Band, They Might Be Giants, John Mayer, Deep Blue Something, Barenaked Ladies
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: A few winded songs, winded intro, outros,
The many faces of Canadian Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Ed Roman are revealed through his creative, inventive, animated type form of thinking. His music writes reads and delivers like a fusion between a children’s book and a musical – full of wonder, delight, adventure and expectations. In 2014 Roman released his new CD entitled “Letters from High Latitudes.”
The CD takes off nicely with methodical “I Told You So” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Americana fretwork, well placed percussion, meshed against thought provoking lyrical content and effective harmonies from Rona. Track 2 “Coming My Way” keeps things moving in the right direction with smooth folksy vibe served up against steady flowing rhythm, well placed vocal/guitar tandem painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “World Keeps on Turning” is another world class funkadelic groove that dishes out dynamic rhythm, impressive vocal feel and Top Tiered musical syncopation from Roman and his band that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. I would classify this music as Americana, Jam Band, Folk, Alternative Rock with brief touches of Alternative Rock, R&B, Jam Band, and what I like to call Intellectual Singer/Songwriter. That's a pretty long list. Music is not easy to pigeonhole but is reminiscent of classic Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Paul Simon, They Might be Giants, John Mayer and Deep Blue Something. Besides the four piece standard one can also appreciate much in the way of lush instrumentation with things like impressive rhythm guitar, Americana fretwork, solid guitar solos, lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Roman - as for his vocal abilities well he’s a great advent. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. I like his power. His voice reminds me of Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies) and John Fransbaugh (They Might Be Giants). All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting and instrumentation. It's obvious to me Roman is a creative genius. This CD from Ed Roman delivers 13 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. All production aspects (Mixing, Mastering) check out extremely well. CD has crystal clear high end punch and thick low end frequency. The music of Ed Roman has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. Trust me when I say Track 11 “Better Day Blues” Will have you rolling in the isles. From dynamic this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “I Found God” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
All songs over 3.5 minutes drag you to the finish line. A few tracks have excessive intros and outros, and a bit of musical meandering in them. Perhaps they should be trimmed up by 10%. Some aspects of the songwriting and lyrical content are a bit overly-eccentric for a mainstream audience to digest..
From start to finish Letter from High Latitudes by Ed Roman is an amazing collection of music. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Ed Roman and company are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Pop-Rock swagger. At the end of the day Ed Roman brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of Canada. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on