“Letters From High Latitudes,” the upcoming album from virtuoso musician Ed Roman is a delight to listen to. Roman’s vast musical talent and gift for composition is displayed prominently in each of the thirteen tracks found on the album. With sounds ranging from upbeat and funky to mellow and somber, the entire album is a treat for the ears.
“Letters from High Altitudes” opens with the song, “I Told You So,” a slow, rocking tune that is evocative of early 90’s alt-rock in all the right ways. Track two, “Comin My Way,” brings in a country-rock influence, with acoustic guitars, hand-clapping and vocal harmonies that will stay with the listener long after the track ends. The third track, “World Keeps On Turning,” rides an incredibly funky bass-line through an auditory adventure that defies genre with its joyful sounds. The song shifts effortlessly from melodic vocal work to talk-singing with perfect dexterity. The funk continues with track four, “Roly’s Cottage,” which showcases incredibly bass work with a tropical flair in the accompaniment.
The aptly titled fifth track, “Jamaica,” is a reggae-influenced story-rocker that will have you crooning along with the hook. Things slow back down for the soulful sixth track, “Rosetta Stone,” which brings a strong Jazz influence with a hint of dreamy top-end to the song. It’s an interesting combination that is surprisingly delightful. Track seven, “Electric Beauty (Distant Gods)” is a trip-rock tune that reminds the listener of some of the best of Pink Floyd with a dash of light, upbeat hope thrown into the mix. Track eight comes back down to Earth with a relatively straightforward rock tune called “In Your Eyes.” It’s a fun tune and placed well within the collection to ground the journey taken by the preceding songs. Track nine goes back into experimental prog-rock territory with the instrumental song “Melacthon June Bug,” which carries the feel of a Primus tune. Track ten, “Kids R Like Vegetables,” remains ensconced in prog-rock, territory, with Roman’s spoken word poetry style lyrics delivered over an expertly crafted noise bed. Song eleven, “Better Day Blues,” is an upbeat, rockabilly-influenced song that is just a good time. Song twelve, “Tinker” jumps back into Jazz territory and will keep your toes tapping. The thirteenth and final track, “I Found God,” ravels back into the ephemeral, Pink-Floydesque cosmic territory, with a strong, solid, melodic chorus to drive the point home and tie the song together.
The album is a fun journey for the eclectic music fan, though less adventurous listeners may be a bit put off by the way the album refuses to conform to a single genre. Overall, I enjoyed the album very much and give it a solid eight out of ten stars.
Score: 8/10 Stars
by Travis Legge, Edited by Markus Druery
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