CD Review: Romeo Flynns “Masque of Anarchy”

We last heard from Detroit’s power pop trio, The Romeo Flynns, back in 2008 (see our review of “Pictures of You” here). “Pictures of You” was a concept album of sorts that focused on a relationship that went south. Now the Flynns are back with another concept album of sorts, “Masque of Anarchy”, one that focuses on an economy gone south. Like concept albums tend to do, they beat a dead horse, but “Masque of Anarchy” (named after the famous 17th century poem by Percy Shelly) shows some big strides in the band’s growth both musically and lyrically. The sophomore effort is wider in scope, deeper in its meaning, and a more dynamic, entertaining listen.

If there is one thing you can’t knock the Flynns for…it is STYLE. Just like “Pictures of You”, “Masque of Anarchy” is so rock star in its artwork and packaging. These guys got the look and attitude that just screams “we’re ready for the big time”. But this time the boys show they not only have style, but they got substance. While there is still some room for improvement, “Masque of Anarchy” towers above the debut in that the melodies are stronger, the band is tighter, and the singer has found his comfort zone.

The Romeo Flynns continue to write songs that merge classic 60s British Invasion songwriting structure with the signature rock sound of the Motor City. All of the songs are generally good, but there are some that really stand out as potential hits…if not of today, they surely would have been back in the 80s. The title track is the best track and this ultra catchy number gets things moving quick on a high note. “Dance The White Line” and “That Ain’t The Motor City” both have an early Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers feel. The band shows some new strong suits in the Byrds-like “Falling Down” and the aching acoustic ballad “Annie”, but prove they can still bring the house down with crunchy rockers like “Not Your Style” and “I Got My Eye On You”, which is one of a few tracks that incorporate some blazing sax that sounds surprisingly at home among these pop rock nuggets. The CD closes strong with the powerful “Poor Man’s Paradise” and epic “Don’t Leave Me Now”. Finally, there’s two covers thrown in for good measure this time around, “Baby Blue” by Badfinger and “Lucifer”, a deep track from the Bob Seger catalogue.

Check out Romeo Flynns if you like The Knack, Cheap Trick, or 80s-era Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Romeo Flynns on MySpace. Official site.