by Kemp Baldwin
I tried doing math Friday night at Pianos. Tough math. I’m not sure how to label it – maybe attraction subtraction or some branch of applied mathematics that I never found the time to take during my busy schedule of being an idiot.
My brain was crunching numbers trying to figure out the vagaries of the Pitchfork rating metric and it’s correlation to success – or relative indie stardom. I needed a tutor, some scratch paper, and a beautiful mind, none of which were readily available as Roman Candle blithely wandered through an hour set of perfect ramshackle pop.
So what’s the difference between an 8.1 review and the 7.6 review Roman Candle’s The Wee Hours Revue got? Maybe a sold-out headlining gig at the Bowery instead of a two-thirds full room at Pianos. That seems to be the influence of Pitchfork’s Best New Music. I guess those are the breaks. But this music deserves more ears.
This is a family band – everyone is connected by blood or marriage except the bassist who might just be their godfather – and this familial bond creates a different type of performance. They’re relaxed, loving, and jocular; as audience member you almost feel a part of the family or at least a fixture in their living room. Their songs are imbued in this quality. Earnest and lovely, Skip Matheny crafts rock songs that amble through lush melodies, infectious hooks, and lyrics rich in narrative and glowing with emotion. If an affable Ryan Adams at his peak fronted the Partridge Family, you’d have yourself Roman Candle.
Their new gorgeous blast of an album Oh Tall Tree in the Ear is out now. And if you’re looking to be won over try this free EP – one of three they released leading up to the album’s drop.