THE ROMANTICS • KING BISCUIT FLOWER HOUR



From Goldmine, November 21, 1997:

THE ROMANTICS
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents
King Biscuit (70710-88013-2)

Reviewed by Carl Caferelli

At their peak, the Romantics were a simply magnificent live rock 'n' roll band, combining the Irresistible pop hooks of their swell records with the insistent, aggressive attack of road savvy kickmeisters fueled by beer and greasy food. This welcome CD release of a 1983 radio broadcast captures the Romantics in their natural setting, and provides appropriately raucous document of what a great rush it all was.

The set list here is heavy with selections from the group's then current In Heat album, with eight of the album's 10 tracks reprised here. The remaining nine tunes are drawn from each of the first three Romantics albums, with a cover of the Righteous Brothers "Little Latin Lupe Lu" that's new to the Romantics' catalog of hits.

The set opens with 'When I Look In Your Eyes", the same number that led off the first Romantics album. The live version retains the effervescent spark of the original, while sacrificing none of the essential shake 'n' sweat you need for a good rock 'n' roll road show. From that point on, the Romantics are an unstoppable juggernaut, rampaging through blistering volleys of power pop, and paying proper attention to both the power and the pop.

There's a good sampling of the best of the Romantics here, rom the totally wonderful "Open Up Your Doo{' through "Keep In Touch," "Rock You Up," James and Bobby Purify's "Shake A Tall Feather," and even the Rick James cop "Talking In Your Sleep."

Regrettable MlAs include "Tell It To Carrie," "Little White Lies," "Running Away," and, oddly enough, In Heat's "One In A Million." In any case, the other In Heat selections are certainly strong enough, all solid rockers that may In spite a reevaluation of that underrated album.

Oh, and the group's signature tune, "What I Like About You," is here too, its transcendent pop brilliance still undimmed by subsequent corporate machinations and unctuous '80s nostalgia-mongerlng overkill. Some songs are just good enough to survive even the worst that the music biz has to offer.

The liner notes earn demerits for inaccuracies the groups second album, National Breakout was released In 1980, not '81, and In Heat was their fourth album, not their third, (though It could be argued that their actual third album, 1981's Strictly Personal, Is best forgotten anyway). And, like most accounts of the Romantics' story, the liners omit any reference to their fab 1977 indie single, "Little White Lies", "I Can't Tell You Anything," marking the beginning of the Romantics recording career with the 1978 "Tell It To Carrie" Bomp 45.

None of which prevents this album from rocking and rolling with fierce abandon. A pop pundit once noted that the Romantics only knew three chords, but they're the right three chords Here's further evidence of the Romantics using the right chords, and using 'em well. (As a postscript, it should be noted that this writer had a chance to see the current edition of the Romantics with prodigal son Jimmy Marinos back In the fold. And It's our great pleasure to report that the Romantics are still a magnificent live rock 'n' roll band, whether they're rippin' through the Pretty Things "Midnight To Six Man" or getting the crowd to shout "HEY! " one more time. The Romantics are on stage, and all Is right with the world.)

Boy, are my fingers tired. Great review isn't it!