Pacing is a frequently underestimated challenge for an artist to face: the generation of musical ideas is all well and good, but what about presenting them in a way that allows a full appreciation without outstaying its welcome? How to strike the balance between underdevelopment and overindulgence? These thoughts mostly spring to mind because the new Romare album is remarkably well-paced, both as individual songs and as a full LP.
Home flirts with house, although the tempos often dip below the genre’s confines, and gospel samples are peppered through tracks such as Gone and Deliverance which make them feel Moby-esque in a good way. A rave influence creeps through on High’s piano-led breakdown, while the title track moves in a completely different direction to the rest of the record, utilising accordion and guitar to slightly gimmicky effect.
The slightly off-kilter hand percussion loop of The River gives way to a brilliantly groovy sample, leading to a subtle build-up that would work a treat in any house set. Sunshine turns the bass up, with wonky synths bleating earworms over a pumping beat, and even before the elements coalesce it wins this reviewer over on sound design alone.
The real highlight, however, is the 10-minute opus Heaven. It is very kitsch, daringly so – imagine a Paul Woolford track done on a cheap Casio keyboard – but as the riff repeats over and over, with sweet string harmonies on top, it stops mattering and the track becomes infused with all the good vibes of a forgotten early ’90s classic. The cut-up vocal samples are another nice touch, bringing a hint of Orbital to the proceedings, and Romare’s reverence for tunes like Chime and Halcyon is written all over this modern-day homage.
Home is a groovy, infectious and deeply listenable record, recommended for all fans of repetitive electronic beats.