Pop auteur Daniel Romano continues his shift from honky-tonk to fizzy pop-psychedelia with Modern Pressure | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Pop auteur Daniel Romano continues his shift from honky-tonk to fizzy pop-psychedelia with Modern Pressure 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge Daniel Romano

Daniel Romano

Sebastian Buzzalino

Over the last couple of years Daniel Romano, a fickle but talented singer-songwriter from Welland, Ontario, has seemed to detach from his early infatuation with country music, an ardor that led him to race from honky-tonk to psychedelic countrypolitan over a pair of albums. Romano’s melodic wooziness remains intact on his new Modern Pressure (New West), but with his move from the sound of Nashville to that of Los Angeles he’s created a detail-rich studio concoction marked by shifting, kaleidoscopic arrangements that cushion his sweet, slightly hyperactive, helium-sucking voice with impressive authority and style. The title track gets its juice from a muscular bass line that would do Paul McCartney proud, while “Roya”—described by the singer as “a celebration of women”—conveys an uplift of spirit right through to its unexpected sitar-driven coda, which seems ready to launch into the Beatles’ “Love You Too.” Elsewhere “The Pride of Queens” pays homage to the Ramones as crunching power chords blast in to wipe out the track’s initial hints of rusticity reminiscent of The Basement Tapes. Romano is a master of bricolage, piecing together disparate sounds from psych-rock’s past—whether backwards-tape experiments or trippy harmony singing—with a thoroughly modern sound and a load of pop hooks. His chameleonic transformations sometimes feel annoying, but when the melodies hit hard I’m willing to cut him slack.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories