The title track to the Chrissie Romano Band album Photo speaks to how a picture can quickly bring back a flood of memories. Romano’s band is a small one, a trio in fact, and the music they create together is tight, folk-ish pop.
Romano sings these nine songs with a pure, expressive voice. She also sounds to have a trained voice, as she distinctly enunciates her words throughout. Romano reveals her sensitive side with “Grow Old.” On it she sings, “Let’s grow old/Hand in hand.” She may look like a thoroughly modern woman on the album cover, but she’s a soft heart once she starts to sing. “Morgan’s Song” is a character study. With it, Romano sings to this woman with an empathetic tone. Unlike some of the album’s more aggressively strummed songs, this one is slower and gentler, featuring lovely, melodic bass lines.
Romano closes the album with a lighthearted song titled “Romeo.” It’s sung over a skipping beat, which is the kind one could easily skip down a city street humming along. Its title character is certainly not related to that more famous Romeo, the Romeo of Romeo and Juliet. No, this is a song about love and lovers, but it by no means has a tragic love story ending. In addition to the track’s peppy percussion, it also features spunky organ fills. It has a bright 80s feel, which fits someplace between Patty Smyth and Cyndi Lauper.
“What About Her?” is one of the album’s more serious tracks. It’s also empathetic, but empathetic to the struggles of a woman. It’s a bit of a woman’s anthem of sorts. “You will never get my soul,” Romano sings defiantly at one point. “Stay,” with its click-track-y rhythm, is a far more positive love song. It’s a song of commitment. It’s also a song of thankfulness. Romano sings as though she knows when she’s found a good thing, and she’s not going to let it go. “Bittersweet and Unkind” expresses the determination to carry on, even when time gets tough.
Chrissie Romano Band music will appeal to those that like it when their folk-rockers do it clean. This is not woebegone Americana music where it gets pretty rough around the edges. The edges of this music are all smoothed out. Romano is pictured on the album cover sporting an acoustic guitar. However, she’d look just as comfortable standing solo behind a microphone stand. She has a voice that would match well with, say, The Carpenters’ music. She sings as though she’s learned all the musical rules of vocalizing. That’s not a negative; it just separates Romano from the more plainspoken rural performers so popular among the Americana crowd.
Photo is an album of well-sung, literate songs. It’s the aural equivalent of a picture taken by a professional photographer, as opposed to an above average cellphone photo taker. With that said, though, it’s also a photograph of a person with every hair in place. At times, perhaps, it’s just a little too perfect. Some girls, after all, look even prettier when they mess up their hair. Maybe next time she’ll let her hair down a little. Sure, she’s good, but she could also be a little bit more fun, too.