ROMAN CANDLES: Riley Versus Jason in the Battle of Gracious Living: LP

Sep 19, 2013

Sincerity is difficult to measure, but, when it is heard, it’s a statement more powerful than any back patch, denim jacket, or neon pink mohawk. Chris Gordon, aided only by his acoustic guitar, oozes earnestness on every track of his first full length—appropriately released by Plan-It-X. The album was wisely recorded in one sitting and the raw urgency of each song is driven by Gordon’s spastic and melodic voice that is often painfully sympathetic. It would be an oversimplification to call it folk punk—as he never dabbles in gruff Tom Gabel impersonations, and it’d be too easy to compare him to other Plan-It-X songwriters like Paul Baribeau or Chris Clavin—because Gordon possesses a wide range of vocal hooks. Furthermore, Gordon’s lyrics aren’t ambiguous or riddled with cryptic metaphors. Given that he resides in sunny and conservative Yorba Linda, CA, the songs are all rooted in a sense of place. He is critical of his hometown and of how he has spent his time in the Land of Gracious Living. Gordon sings about Yorba Linda being the birthplace of Richard Milhous Nixon, the home of a million damn Mormons, and a place of complacent, wealthy youth, yet it is also the location of an admirable group of friends and musicians. The album is as much a personal history as it is a testament to a cardinal principle: Even if your hometown is a hellhole, it doesn’t mean you have to become an asshole. Chris Gordon is living proof of punk perseverance overcoming ignorant adversity. The LP includes a zine that provides an extensive history of Roman Candles and lyric explanations.

 –Sean Arenas (Plan-It-X, [email protected], plan-it-x.com)

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