A Neon Rome A Neon Rome

How to summarize? Created by singer Neal Arbik in 1984, A Neon Rome burned briefly and brightly before Arbik's bizarre, pseudo-monastic meltdown (vow of silence included) scuttled the project in the touring phase following the release of their first and only album, New Heroin. Filmmaker Bruce MacDonald had been slated to chronicle the band's first tour, and post-derailment, he turned the strange truths into the film Roadkill, his fictional portrayal of a label rep tracking a band gone awol in Northern Ontario. The band's sound, captured well on New Heroin, resembled Jane's Addiction in its wild blend of psychedelia, folk ecstasy and gutter theatre, and it should be noted they got there a year before Jane's Nothing's Shocking exploded. Shades of Patti Smith's poetic rhapsody ("Windowsill") coloured Arbik's performances, while the band, including still-active road warrior John Borra, found ever-expanding strategies to match his pitch. This reissue features all but one track from New Heroin, plus a bonus track from the sessions from the uncompleted follow-up: All the Children Are In. (Cousin Jeb)