Chasing Airwaves is an 8 track album by the local Tulsa band Tony Romanello and the Black Jackets. I almost decided to do a review of this album based solely on the cover art, because let’s face it I’m just that much of a jerk. But Chasing Airwaves is a prime example of covers not reflecting quality of content.
The album is a weird combination of 80s, 90s, and 2000s topped off with some synth and sampling which makes it sound equal parts nostalgic and fresh. TRatBJ show impressive, controlled guitar-work. The bass and drums fill the sound out well and have a few moments where they become centerpieces in their own rights.
Overlay some synth and sampling and Chasing Airwaves becomes a much more modern sounding album. All these elements were mixed together very professionally, never feeling amateurish or unpolished.
Throughout the album I heard influences of Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, U2 and even a bit of Sublime. These influences sometimes came through a bit too heavily, though. There were two or three songs that I thought to myself “this could totally have been by [insert popular band name].”
This wasn’t a constant problem throughout the album. Particularly the fourth track, “The Start” I feel successfully combined the band’s influences in a way that created a new sound. Subsequently I’d probably say “The Start” was my favourite track on the album.
A second criticism I had was that the album felt a little disjointed. Each track pulled me to a different style or time period, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case I felt it was less an artistic juxtaposition and more of a distraction.
However, it is very clear that Tony Romanello and the Black Jackets have talent and despite a few imperfections, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album. Chasing Airways gets the Lux thumbs up. Recommended tracks: 1,4, and 8.
Chasing Airwaves releases February 16 and will be available via most digital retailers and physically through cdbaby.com. There will be an album release show at The Shrine in Tulsa on February 20.