WHEN TWO MUSICIANS team up to form a duo, you’d hope that their individual talents would compliment each other – that one guy would excel in some areas and the other in others with some overlap. Sadly (and for some mysterious reason) many people now appear to be attracted to the music business for the (so-called) glamour, or the quaint impression that people might think they’re special or important somehow, or because spending time in some kind of a recording studio is apparently cool. None of these are an acceptable reason to get involved. If the wish to contribute quality material to the canon is not the motivation, it leads to only one thing – mediocrity.
This is where Austin, Texas’ Ronjo V come in. I’m not certain of their motivation, the above were examples, but a quality contribution doesn’t seem to be a concern to them. Sure, I wish they were amazing. I even wish they were really bad. That would make them interesting to write about, but they’re not bad. Like the rest of the 98%, they’re just languishing in the oh-so-drab unexciting middle ground. And the salt in the wound is that these recordings are merely of demo quality but being touted as product. Do we really need yet another act feigning a ‘90s-era Radiohead crossed with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? Where’s the originality?
The saving grace? The drumming. The promo material doesn’t name the drummer, so I presume it’s one of the core members, Ryan Joseph or Keith Morgan. Whoever it is, they have tasty feel and a knack with intricate snare work in a rock setting. This is less common in alt-rock these days and kept me listening. Otherwise I got more of what I hear almost everywhere else – rudimentary guitar noodling around sleepy vocals that half the time were drenched in a sickening reverb that rendered lyrics indecipherable and songs unlistenable. When I could decipher lyrics, I got lines like in ‘Unfriend’ – ‘I hope you find someone to love, I hope you find faith above, I don’t know why, just because’. It doesn’t matter what you’re saying, but at least put backbone behind it. Make me believe you. Why even write a song that virtually tells me you’re not even sure why you’re doing it? Oh yeah, it might be because of the glamour, or the praise that might rain down, or the sex or the drugs. That’s fine! Tell me all about those, I want to hear about anything that makes you feel. But to issue unprepared and incomplete product, impatient for the rush of release day (which is a real thing, as if release day is not completely arbitrary now anyway) is to foist even more mediocrity on whoever may be listening, and can cause people to write reviews like this one. And we don’t want those either, do we? PETER KEARNS
Music = 2/5