Words: James Frostick
Band image: Felix Mooneeram
Less than a month into 2020 and we have a frontrunner for song of the year. Melbourne power-pop five-piece Romero is dropping a double A-side brimming with trenchant energy. Brilliantly radiant and uncompromising from the outset, ‘Honey’ is the kind of summer-appropriate track we could use during a period of noxious current affairs.
Starting things off on a personal note, I’ve been down on music lately. Not down on the state of the industry or down on the quality of contemporary output – just sort of down on the experience of listening in general. This overall malaise – call it a rut, if you’d like – has meant I’m kind of out of touch with the scene in general right now. Things have flown by me, and I’m behind the times. Feeling the need to ‘catch up’ makes it harder to get back into the habit of active listening – time passes but I straggle behind. It’s not the first time this has happened (you can usually attribute any inactivity on this site to one of these spells), but what usually gets the juices flowing is one song that takes me by surprise and by force – one that doesn’t tolerate being ignored. ‘Honey’ by Melbourne crew Romero is the song that snapped the 2019/2020 drought – a track of earnestly infectious power-pop that I just fucking adore. I’m not familiar with any of the faces, but I gotta give credit to the band – Alanna Oliver (vox), Adam Johnstone (gtr), Fergus Sinclair (gtr), Justin ‘Murry’ Twill (bass) and Dave Johnstone (drums) on a strong showing to start the decade. It’s what I needed and it’s what I got.
Speaking of need, I don’t think you really need me to go into much detail about what qualities are most appealing to me about this track. The charm is less je ne sais quoi and more readily apparent – I can easily put my finger on it. In a little under four minutes, Romero has captured the crackling essence of joy and nostalgia and succinctly translated it into a tight, hook-laden and well-rounded composition. Speaking of need, these are the kind of songs that I need – the intoxicating rush that floods my system and buzzes through my bloodstream. There’s a high to ‘Honey’ that is immediate and habit forming – the sweetness belies the addictive element. It’s endlessly playable, which means there’s a good chance I’m still returning to this song by year’s end. Romero’s set the bar high, not only for themselves moving forward, but everyone else existing in a similar power pop space. Speaking of need, this is the kind of bright spot that we could all use right now. The country is burning and no one in power seems to care, and while we grapple with this societal inadequacy we all need something that can offer some fleeting escapism. It might be hubristic to say the standard has been set, but a song hasn’t made me feel this alive in a while – so take with a grain of salt if you’d like, just listen to the damn thing:
Pre-orders for the double A-side are online now through killer label Cool Death Records. You can set aside your copy here. The record will be out officially on Friday February 14.