romantic revival

Made in Detroit (Westbound)
The Romantics

By Kevin Gibson

When someone mentions the Romantics, most people think of the 1980 hit "What I Like About You," which helped catapult the band to relative stardom in the middle of the last decade. In fact, we're talking about a band that hasn't put out an album since 45s were cool.

In the meantime, they've been touring, juggling drummers, touring, looking for a recording deal, and touring. With the release of the five-song EP Made in Detroit, the band may have finally found life outside the tour bus again.

The Romantics clearly have come a long way. The follow-up to 1983's successful In Heat was the soft, poorly-received Rhythm Romance, and any resemblance between those Romantics and the ones playing on Detroit is purely coincidental.

It seems the Motor City quartet has finally captured the energy of its live show on tape. From the anti-war leadoff cut, "You and Your Folks," a juiced-up cover of a George Clinton tune, it is clear that what was once mostly backbeat and bass is now heavy guitar and energy. Lots of energy.

Clem Burke of Blondie fame provides drums on this disc, while guitarist Coz Canler, lead vocalist Wally Palmar and bassist Mike Skill return with renewed fervor and three well-crafted originals. A cover of Clinton's "I Wanna Know" rounds out the selections.

At the moment, it is available only as an import. If you're a fan of the Romantics or if you just want some excellent roots-oriented rocking blues, this is one to add to the library.

Oh, and don't forget to turn the volume way up.