27 September 2023

Rock’n’roll Romantic

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Downtown Mystic, Sha-La-Music 2023.

Robert Allen, AKA Downtown Mystic, hails from New Jersey in the USA and Rock’n’Roll Romantic is the first I’ve heard of him.

Robert has surrounded himself with some impressive musicians including Steve Holley (Paul McCartney, Wings, Elton John, Ian Hunter), Max Weinberg & Garry Tallent from the E Street Band, plus Paul Paige (Dion, Ian Hunter) on bass.

This band line-up really helps to give this album some impressive musical credentials.

First impressions of Downtown Mystic are of a retro melodic rock that is constantly reminding me of the soft rock/country rock of bands like The Eagles, Seals and Croft, Tom Petty etc. and on some tracks like Turn Around there’s traces of the harder rock sound of Dave Edmonds.

There’s also more than a nod to The Traveling Wilbury’s in the composition of the vocal sound and song construction.

And the track Hard Enough has overtones of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, particularly with the injection of piano.

Although there’s an eclectic gathering of influences and a retro inclination the album still comes across as fresh.

All but one of the 12 tracks on the album are originals, the other track is a cover of the Beatles She Said She Said. Downtown Mystic’s version is less psychedelic than pop/rock but it’s quite interesting.

While most tracks fall comfortably into the soft rock genre there are some surprises; Gongs Of Karma is a short track that consists of crashing overlapping gongs – the sound is percussive rather than melodic.

There’s an ode to Brian Jones, former guitarist/harmonica player with The Rolling Stones.

It’s one of the rockier tracks on the disc although its not at all the edgy rock of the Stones despite some good harp playing.

Rock’n’Roll Romantic is a good album.

It’s got a familiarity to it that makes you think that you’ve heard it before – that’s an asset rather than a drawback.

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