Tony Romero is probably best known as being a long-time DJ on the best internet radio station around, House of Prog (in full disclosure I’d better mention that I also review for the site). He has long had an interest in all forms of progressive rock music, has interviewed literally hundreds of stars within the scene, and when it came time for him to record his debut album, he was able to bring some of those into assist. One of those is Steve Bonino, whose input into the album is considerable, providing vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar as well as working with Tony on mixing, arranging, and producing the album. Tony provides keyboards throughout, although he is also assisted in that regard by Robert Schindler while there are also three guests who are on one track each, namely singers Liz Tapia and Sophia Baird and guitarist Peter Matuchniak.
Tony is the only person who appears on every track, as one would expect, and this is very much his album, working to combine his interests in different types of music. This means that although he has involved musicians I very much admire, they have been working with his guidance, so this is very much a Romero release as opposed to Bonino etc. Tony has an approach to keyboard playing which I understand, but to be honest am not a huge fan of, which means I am coming to this review being able to appreciate what is taking place while not actually enjoying it. This is because Tony is coming into prog from an area of electronica, so the keyboards being used have sounds and styles from the Eighties, and while there is some guitar, there isn’t enough for me. The keyboards can be quite staccato as opposed to sweeping, which can be at odds to the vocals.
There are also quite a few instrumentals on the album, and Robert Schindler’s keyboard solo on “House Arrest” sounds like a shredding guitarist, but it is played against sounds which to my ears don’t work as well as they might. However, I am also fully aware that this is because I am not a fan of this style of music as opposed to anything wrong with the music itself. The music has been well performed and recorded, but it is just that I am not the target audience. I truly hope that Tony manages to get this to the right listeners, as it is definitely more electronica than progressive, and it is always interesting to find people releasing music that is somewhat unexpected.
7/10 Kev Rowland