Daniel Romano


BY Cosette SchulzPublished May 25, 2016

The New King of Mosey is back with the appropriately titled Mosey, and he's changed his approach: gone is the garish rhinestone nudie suit, gone are the sad, syrupy ballads, gone is all but the sense of purity that Romano fights for. From the first fade into opening track "Valerie Leon," with the blast of 1960s-sounding horns and an era-specific drum beat, Romano invites us into his world of Mosey — and the living is easy.
Mosey exists on two planes, really: on the one, there are tunes like "Valerie Leon," "Mr. E Me" and "Sorrow (For Leonard And William)" that fit into the same 1960s-tinged atmosphere complete with crisp drums, that deep Lee Hazlewood drawl and horns that would befit a Tom Jones or Dusty Springfield tune. The haunting "The Collector," characterized by the heavy piano playing of Welland's Mark Lalama, plays like Romano's take on dark, lush "cowboy psychedelia," which recalls Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra's "Some Velvet Morning."
Elsewhere, the country-lite "I'm Alone Now" and "Maybe Remember Me" feature irresistible instrumentals that sneak in at the end: growling bass, vocals that recall the Everly Brothers' "Temptation," girl group shoo-bops and whoops. He's hinted at this sort of thing before, with the ending of If I've Only One Time Askin's "The One That Got Away (Came Back Today)" being something of a mosey anthem (when Romano whispers "mosey" atop the tambourine, bass line and tickled keys? Oof), but he really goes for it here.
These sweet little moments truly make the record. Whereas other Romano releases might have been heavy on the heartbreak, maudlin and woeful, Mosey breaks it up with these tempting little sonic intermissions. The weary "One Hundred Regrets Avenue" may be followed by "I'm Alone Now," but the outro of the latter is a grooving delight that keeps spirits high without verging on hokey. These songs feel as authentic to time gone by as they can get, being as far removed from that world and time as it is. Romano is paying his respect.
The resounding theme of Mosey is this notion of grasping at the greatness of past works and comparing them to the sense of confusion and loss that exists in today's culture. Perhaps that explains Romano's dive into a '60s sonic space, a decade responsible for birthing monstrously influential music, and the reason for that Blonde on Blonde mess of curls he's sporting, too. He speaks his mind clearly on final track "Dead Medium": "They're building a tombstone of plastic and sweatpants / This surely will last as our darkest years pass and we build a new future / Convenient and crass".
Romano plainly pines for the days of old, and is concerned about a sense of lacking longevity, but he finds room for humour, too. Moments of cheeky wordplay abound — on "Toulouse," he sings that "I never had something that was ever worth nothing, now I sure got a lot to lose / I'm gonna grab you tight and never hold you too loose, Toulouse" — while the title alone of "Mr. E Me" should garner a smirk.
Mosey is highly approachable and magnetic without being mawkish, but it also speaks clearly to Romano's various frustrations with his generation. These 12 tunes are as poetic as they are powerful, and house a hefty amount of meaning. Romano took care with Mosey and is concerned about its quality and value. He cares, and in the end, the King just wants his people to, as well.
(New West)

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