Surrender On Demand
The press release for this album mentions Nirvana, and there’s little reason to argue with that. Not the sophisticated, poppy Nirvana, mind, this is hard rocking, workmanlike, in-your-face rock with a cause. It works surprisingly well considering the fact that you’ve heard it all before, and no doubt much of that is due to vocalist Devon Irish’s impassioned delivery and the overall hard-hitting attack of everyone involved. Plus, obviously, they have a batch of great songs to back up the sound – listen for evidence to the ’60s-styled doo-wop trash punk of “Thinking Of You” and “American Standard,” the furious “Desperate,” or the standard-only-better “Star Material.”
I definitely wasn’t expecting much from it when I first put it on, thinking it’s another band flogging that sorry dead horse called grunge. It’s grunge, for sure, but not the dime-a-dozen kind that’s been ripping the heart out of everything valid connected to it in the first place. Roma kick grunge back to the anger and passion that made it in the first place, installing it with a healthy sense of DIY attitude and a refusal to follow the rules of the game. Retaining the spirit of grunge, then, and a sense of history, but by no means are Roma imitators or even slightly nostalgic about it. This is simply an album of brutally honest, personal music, of highly idiosyncratic and brilliantly performed punching rock. A huge surprise, and a very welcome one.