Romances – GOOD EVIL (Review)




Listening simply becomes second nature to most of us. Be it when we’re doing work, waiting for new messages on forums, making love (AHAHAHAH), or just walking (or if you’d prefer, biking) to your local ice cream parlor for a double fudge sundae with that extra banana in the middle to make it look like a wang, we always have music playing. But what happens when you hear something you’ve never heard before in your life? Well, keep your pants down. This is something so beautiful and serene that you simply must keep it with you no matter what. I’m talking about Kaada/Patton’s Romances.


First a little background. John Kaada is a Norwegian Fatboy Slim. That’s right, I went there. His American debut, Thank You for Your Valuable Time, is certainly something else, sampling old fashioned 50’s do wop and various break beats that’ll make your grandmother most certainly do “the monkey” to. Mike Patton is best known as the singer of Faith No More (yeah the “youuuuu want it alllll” guy), but his cult status grew with his original group Mr. Bungle and side project Fantomas. When these two got together and decided to write love songs that were on the line between creepy and spooktastic, Romances becomes the result.


Kaada supplies most of the music (with help from a couple guest musicians); Patton supplies the eerie vocals/screams/whistling/la las and sound effects that are the ultimate cherry on top. Part ambience, part circus music, part satanic even, these guys went out on a freakin limb here, that’s for sure. Just take a listen to some online samples if you can. “French” accordion music, a harmonica, xylophone, and even a bass clarinet are among the lesser known instruments that get their fill on this album to join the keys, bass, and some various percussive work. Patton’s vocals are so amazing that’s it becomes scary how this is all coming from the throat of one person. He rarely has any words in these songs, but when he does, he gets to sing them with such passion that you’ll forget that your pants have been down the whole time (They still are! Admit it!). It’s all nicely produced together to keep you on your ears, too. Some parts are so somber and sweet and truly romantic in a soap operatic fashion, while other sections become so overpowering that you’ll wonder who the real killer is. Length wise, it’s 9 tracks and about 45 minutes long, and one of the songs even goes up to as long as 11 minutes. Trust me though; this isn’t something you could easily fall asleep to.


The packaging is worth noting. The case this comes in is a cardboard foldout (the smell reminded me of baseball cards!). The artwork is simply a bunch of jellyfishes, the inside has some small notes and credits and that’s basically it. But it really helps describe the music, as this wasn’t meant to be complex or taken in as a novel The beauty lies in the simplicity, and if you look into too much you’ll be stung by jellyfish. Yes, I came up with that all by myself.


I tried my best to describe what I just heard, but words simply can’t do this justice. Simply put, you have to experience Romances at least once. It’s truly “out there”, and I know most people will look right past this. But trust me when I say that you must take a good listen by any means necessary. And hey, if you end up hating it, at least you tried something new, right?


RATING: Classic