Shapeshifting songwriter Daniel Romano has covered wide stylistic ground, from his post-hardcore band Attack in Black through to his run of top-notch solo albums that take in classic country, folk and psychedelic variations of the aforementioned. Now with Modern Pressure he’s consolidated his sound, corralling all those Americana variations into his consistently best album to date.
Modern Pressure is an album that feels airborne and light on oxygen with Romano’s high voice, guitars that sparkle alongside soaring organ and light, dancing drumming. It’s certainly not weighty Johnny Cash territory, rather it’s country music at The Byrds end of the spectrum where pop melodies and light psych folk inform Romano’s sonic approach.
Mariachi horns colour ‘Dancing With the Lady in the Moon’ and sitar adds a twist to ‘I Tried to Hold the World (In My Mouth)’ amid the songs’ clever time signature changes, while all manner of effects are applied to guitars and vocals to give the dozen songs a dreamy, lightly tripping vibe. Dylan is a clear influence on Romano’s vocal style and to an extent lyrically as well. He deploys the master’s stream of consciousness delivery, painting fantastical scenes while exploring the joys and stresses of modern life.
This is Americana music out on the fringes, defying expectations and convention without sacrificing the art and craft of songwriting.