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.