Dex Romweber Duo: Is That You In The Blue?

Electrifying garage-rock Americana.

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A prolific cult figure and a formative influence on younger musicians including sometime collaborators Jack White and Cat Power, North Carolina’s Dex Romweber favours a rootsy sound grounded in vintage rockabilly and surf-rock, all played with a kind of breakneck caveman abandon.

But don’t be fooled by his studied amateurism, because behind its reverb-drenched clatter and home-cooked splatter this album also reveals Romweber’s firm command of classic songwriting. Especially the ballads, from the ragged title track to the dishevelled confessional The Death of Me, which tap into a pedigree bloodline of passion-racked retro-rock from Elvis to Morrissey, Nick Cave to Richard Hawley.

But there is still plenty of Romweber’s signature unruly percussion and Dick Dale-style surf guitar here, while his sister Sara hammers seven shades of shit out of the drum kit.

Reworking the lounge-jazz standard Brazil as a raucous rockabilly bone-shaker is also an inspired, irreverent two-fingered salute to the timid young pretenders of coffee-table Americana.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.