Just what we've been waiting for

Says Pop (Outlook)
Roman Candle

You can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Good old-fashioned rock `n' roll music is still being made in America, and Roman Candle is making it.

Roman Candle is Skip and Logan Matheny, brothers who honed their skills in the Chapel Hill, N.C., scene. Skip sings, plays guitar, keyboards, bass and harmonica, and Logan plays drums, auxiliary percussion and guitar. This means that the burden of success or failure is squarely in their well-trained hands.

That's right where it should be. The excellence of this album proves that good music doesn't need big-money backing; sometimes real talent and sincerity are enough.

Says Pop is at once simple, yet sprawling and ambitious. The band employs a variety of styles on the rock `n' roll spectrum, and comes across feeling cool and comfortable in all of them.

The lyrics invite an instant familiarity, as if Skip was translating personal memories into experiences with universal appeal. On "Baby's Got It in the Genes," Skip conveys the melancholy of romantic nostalgia: "Something sparked up in my brain, to tell you the truth I bought a box of raisins and a Baby Ruth, and sat down on the curb -- 12 o'clock turned into three." Each song stands independently, yet the tracks are strung together by a fraternal connection that goes beyond biology.

Roman Candle moves effortlessly from retro pop to roots rock to subtle country twang without losing even a hint of its earnest desire to craft enjoyable and enduring music. This group is destined for a wider audience, if America even remembers what good rock `n' roll music sounds like.