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Buy this cd at ProxisCD OF THE WEEK (January 1999) :

THE ROMANS "EL DIABLO"
(Oyster Records 1998 - Oyster 002)

Songs (click on the -icons for audio)
1. Spotlight Freak
2. Unlucky
3. One Dirty Feather
4. Choose Eleven
5. Someone New
6. Top Of The World
7. Gary Bump
8. Nosebleed Blues Therapy
9. Love in D Minor
10. Sleighride Hill
11. Space Girl
12. Not The End of Pop Music

Musicians :
- Laurens Leurs : Vocals & Guitar
- Frank Coonen : Drums & Percussion
- Chris Leurs : Bass & Backing vocals

Guests :
- Staf Verbeeck (keyboards) Paul Clinck, Kuniko Nagata, Cecil Vidal (strings), Eric Mertens (flute), Luc Verdonck (bassoon), Lukke De Graaf (mandolin)

Production : Staf Verbeeck
Recorded at Jet Studio, Brussels, Spring 1998

Press Release

With "EL DIABO" (their 5th album) The Romans are once again off to a flying start with fresh courage and a new label (Oyster Records).

The Romans... Do we even have to introduce them !?

Wel ok, very briefly then: Trio (Laurens Leurs - Frank Coonen - Chris Leurs), from Maaseik (Belgium), Humo's Rock Rally-finalist (Silver in '88) and very good at what they are performing (powerpop with guitars, melody and chorus). "Get to know them and see them growing between The Beatles and Motörhead, between Maaseik and Beverly Hills", a journalist from a leading weekly wrote.

That growth proceeds itself on the new CD "EL DIABLO", recorded at the Brussels' Jet Studios in the spring of '98 under the guidance of producer Staf Verbeek (who worked previously with Metal Molly, The Scene, Tribe and dEUS).

The Romans won't turn the world topsy-turvy with "EL DIABLO" but will continue to operate in an area marked out by The Beatles, The Posies, Hüsker Dü and their likes, that is: a zone with craftfully constructed popsongs filled to the brim with keen vocals and pronounced melodies that stick to your mind like chewing gum.

An independent daily talked like an oracle two years ago: "If they would've had Minneapolis on their birth certificate, they'd probably be a lot more famous." And right they are!

But The Romans don't let it go to their heart, as their primary concern is not 'becoming famous' but writing songs with a capital 'S'.

They already did that succesfully in the past with their CDs 'BALL & CHAIN ('89 vinyl), 'TRIGGER HAPPY' ('90), 'MAJOR PANIC' ('93), 'BE MY STAR' ('96) and presently again with their 'EL DIABLO' !

Or as they describe it themselves in the last song on "EL DIABLO" : "This is not the end of pop music".

Source : vzw Ben Hur.

In the press:

- Stage, January 1998: "It's simply amazing how the Romans keep on doing "their thing" with the obstinacy of farmers & shopkeepers. Who gives a damn, they do it, and they do it well. ... A "Someday Cindy" is not on this album, but the songs are of a very consistent quality and compete in radio-friendliness."
- Humo. Fons "Zen" Deluxe in a letter to the editor : "In the popular series "how to butcher a belgian band", it was The Romans' turn last week. Sorry chaps, your credit's used up. Did the reviewer have a miserable day, or did he put his copy in the microwave instead of his cd-player ? According to JUB, the Romans have been trying to copy "Zen Arcade" of Hüsker Dü for the past ten years. Hello ?! Did you ever listen to "Zen Arcade". A wonderful album, that's not the issue here, but the Romans have been going in other directions for years now ..."
- Teek (December 1998) : "Although the sound of the group is still somewhat "flatter" on cd than on stage, this is absolutely no step backwards, but an honest attempt to keep rock in '98 alive. Naïve ? Maybe. But certainly dead honest."
- RifRaf (11/98) "Let's get the bull by the horns : this is a record to put in a golden frame ... almost all the tracks on 'El Diablo' are a potential candidates for the Afrekening ... Those who are fed up with the arty-farty tingle-tangle music that has been made in this stupid country for the past few years, will indulge themselves hearing this little gem"
- Financieel Economische Tijd (my my, do they also pay attention to culture ? If it sells.) : "with 'El Diablo' they take a second departure on a new record label. Their well-known formula of fresh guitarpop and polyphonic, catchy choruses isn't showing any signs of wearing out ..."

Did you see a good (or bad) review of the album ? Send it to me !

My opinion

The newest cd of The Romans has been playing for about three hours now, on endless repeat + random play. This is the so-called overkill-method : the songs that still catch your attention after three or four spins must be the good ones. A few early candidates have dropped behind, and mostly so "Love in D Minor", a monstrosity that was launched as the first single. Meanwhile however, there's also "Space Girl" out on CDS, a much better ambassador for this piece of fine work called "El Diablo".
On stage they are about the most tightly-knit company that I've witnessed (I saw the for the first time in Ghent, where they opened up in front of Iggy Pop, it must've been '90 or '91). Still, they've always managed to put that live-spirit on their records reasonably well. On "El Diablo" it is no different, but there are a few songs that have received a bit more "treatment".
In an interview with "Het Belang Van Limburg", one of the Leurs-brothers said that it's about time to make a double Romans-compilation, one with the singles, one with "personal favourites". Although the best material would also fit on one CD, I still think it would be a good idea, because it will become clear that the Romans have been putting together a string of classic songs over the last 10 years. On "El Diablo" there are in my opinion only three new classics ("Gary Bump", "Space Girl" and "Not the end of Pop Music"), yet stíll it's not a bad album.

And your opinion?
Did I get it all wrong, or was I spot-on ? Do you want to share your opinion about this cd ? Send it in, and I'll put it up here !

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More about this group :

- The Romans have had a place on this site since the very beginning.
- The official home on the web is located at www.theromans.com.
- Oyster Records, their ambitious record firm has a nicely designed website.
- Booking :
L&S Agency, Postbus 5, Sint-Truiden, Belgium. Tel : +32/11/67.17.01, Fax : +32/11/67.33.31 or email at ls.agency@village.uunet.be

Where to buy this CD ?

You can order this CD from a number of locations (prices researched on Janyary 4th, 1999, but nothing guarantees they still are the same when you read this).

Shop Price of the CD Shipping + other expenses Total
Direct link
Frontstage
740
50
790 BEF
Azur
727
0
727 BEF
 
HVH-Megastore
738
54
792 BEF
 
Proxis
632
95
727 BEF

The Lowest price is in yellow, the highest in red. This price comparison doesn't take things into account like deduction of shipping expenses when ordering more than 1 cd, bonus points, differences in guarantees ... Shipping prices are those for customers in Belgium.

Have you seen this record elsewhere, do you own a CD-shop with Belgian products in it, or if there's something wrong with my calculations : let me know.

 

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