29
Jan 04

Last night for the first time in my life

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Last night for the first time in my life I had one of those going-out-without-trousers dreams, an absolutely standard part of the dream lexicon but one that had not troubled me. I can only put it down to all the discussion on critical authority that was sloshing around the music blogs this week. Especially as what I was doing without trousers was visit a second-hand record shop that had set itself up in the basement of the Glasshouse Stores. I apologise to all the imaginary patrons of that fine boozer who had to catch an oneiric glimpse of my pallid arse.

Anyway the dream is also pertinent to today’s link – This Is Romo, a shrine to the short-lived 90s ‘romantic modernism’ movement which has become a byword for music press idiocy but with a kindlier eye looks more like ‘wrong place, wrong time’. The best thing about the site though is that you can judge for yourself! A fairly extensive MP3s page points to downloadables of the few Romo singles that actually saw release plus rarities and unreleased tracks.

A couple of the singles are testimony to how elastic the human mind can be when it’s decided it wants to like something. At the time, being broadly ProRomo (anything had to be better than Ocean Colour Scene and Cast!), I managed to convince myself that Plastic Fantastic’s “Fantastique No.5” was just ‘a bit disappointing’. It is not. It is one of the shoddiest, worst put-together, most ramshackle tracks you will ever hear: the absolutely flagrant ripping off of Roxy Music is profoundly embarrassing but also the only entertaining thing about it. It may even not be better than some Cast records.

But some of the tunes stand up well, generally the ones which took their cue from clubby pop rather than past outrages. The excellent Belvedere Kane MP3 isn’t working (you can get it off me on Soulseek if you like, though), but Orlando’s “Just For A Second” is, and sounds as flouncy, brave and out of place as ever. And the site has Hollywood’s “Apocalypse Kiss” – gothy handbag with big production and those flattened Europop vowels I love so much. Massively enjoyable – and free!

“Apocalypse Kiss” was an early production job for Xenomania, who do a lot of the Sugababes and Girls Aloud stuff. You can find Romo links everywhere if you look! They also remind me a bit of Tatu, who of course are entirely Romo, though it would be more accurate to say that Romo was a spirited runt in a litter that also birthed them. Trouserless Romo may have ended up but it turns out not quite as shameful as you may have heard.

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