Romperâ€™s new record manages to be political without being preachy. Bolstered in its indie-pop style by touches of garage rock and dark, Modern Lovers-esque disjointed melodies, â€śSifting Through the Rubbleâ€ť is a breezy but occasionally chunky tour of cowardice and surrender, personal and political. That isnâ€™t to say that their insights are all that original: evil corporations, pod people, slaves hypnotized by media, etcâ€¦Yet the fact that some are willing to keep crying out in the cultural wilderness is comforting.
Comfort would turn to nausea if the music wasnâ€™t good and the lyrics were preachy. Fortunately, Romper supply plenty of hooks, and lyrics that are jaundiced and darkly humorous rather than self-righteous. Message songs like â€śThe 99,â€ť â€śCorporation Nationâ€ť and â€śSifting Through the Rubbleâ€ť are propelled by tasty guitar lines and subtle but insistent grooves. Songs of a more personal apocalypse, like â€śRoad to Ruin,â€ť Little Ball of Hateâ€ť and â€śIn the Neighborhoodâ€ť are similarly rescued from bathos with humor and a strong rock ethic.
Bay Areaâ€™s Romper (predominately shepherded by guitarist/write Paul Freeman) debut with a record that tells us that all is lost and most of us are too self-absorbed or stupid to know it. Right On! â€śSifting Through the Rubbleâ€ť is jaded, arch and, given the totality of its sense that we are all fucked, funny. Is it possible to love and hate your own demise? Romper offers clues.