The Post Romantic Empire

The Post Romantic Empire

Various Artists

The Post Romantic Empire Album

Our Sweetest Songs

If we were doing a We Are the World concert to save the starving kids in the third world today, this would be a great lineup. (How are those kids doing, anyway? Still starving? Ah, the power of overpaid pop stars… ) This collection looks back to the classical sound that defined highbrow music generations ago. Can Rimsky-Korsakov or Little Willie work in today’s Indie Pop universe?

We open with three movements of “The Story of Shéhérazade.” “Le Roi” is a cello- and piano-driven piece with Roger O’Donnell on piano and Julia Kent on cello. It’s a contemplative number that’s both melancholy and introspective. In this legendary Persian story, the king was cuckolded by his first wife, and he set off raping and murdering all the high-level virgins in his kingdom. Movement two, “The Princess,” seems more positive; it’s the same musicians, but now the clever daughter of the vizier enters, and with her complex set of stories gleaned from classic literature she strings the king along, never quite finishing a story until dawn. It’s a dangerous game of Persian Roulette, but she wins the king’s favor in “Les Deux,” and many a young woman sighs in relief at her success.

We now leave the glory days of the caliphate and head down to New Orleans, where “The House of the Rising Sun” takes on post-Animals energy. This version is 20 minutes long; it’s up there with classic rock workouts like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Nantucket Sleigh Ride,” and anything in the Yes/ Pink Floyd/ King Crimson catalog. This version is Robitussin slow; Baby Dee sings occasional lines with a raspy blues vocal. She’s beyond being abused by no-good men, and this song takes her to the back stoop of hell where Satan himself has to go to smoke these days. Grab an extra beer and back up chips, it is going to be a long night.

Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” reappears; here it’s been deconstructed into a dreamy collage of acoustic guitars and finger cymbals. It’s like the punks and the stadium rockers never existed, and the psychedelic mind-exploders merged straight into the post-punk art rockers. It’s great music, and great music not only stands the test of time but the transposition of keys and styles.

New Order’s “Dreams Never End” undergoes nearly the same re-arrangement and now sounds like a sad “I Am” number from a forgotten Sondheim musical. The vocals come from Gitane Demone, and the synth pop backing track is now another cello and piano exercise in self-inflicted misery. We are nearly done… choral music and a simple piano along with children’s ensemble re-imagines “Annarella.” It’s small, sweet, and somehow reminiscent of a certain Spinal Tap unreleased track.

All in all, this is post-modern rock and roll recast as medieval cathedral chanting. The sex and drugs are long gone, and all that is left are human voices and elemental instrument parings.

Our Sweetest Songs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives