The Romans were an LA surf band in the early ’80s. More muscle car than hot rod, these songs have moxie, and it’s easy to imagine Estrus founder Dave Kreiger listening to The Romans in the Reagan years up in Yakima, Washington, and sporting a Douglas fir-sized woody. Make no mistake about it, The Romans are a surf band, but like The Mermen and Man or Astroman? that came after them, surf is a springboard that launches them into a places with the freedom to explore something new and different. Punk rockers take note: Rob Ritter of The Bags, Gun Club and 45 Grave was in the band for a minute. Dinah Cancer also appears on the record, belting out a screen siren scream on a tune called “Blob!” The bonus tracks are the real gems here. The instrumental “Black” is pretty cool, and “It’s a Lie” and “Slave” are great punk rock songs that are reminiscent of Agent Orange and could not have come from anywhere else but Southern California. “Chasm,” the apocalyptic final track is like Tarzan trapped in an ancient African temple on mescaline, the slo-mo drums seeping into his skull as the enslaved masses chant his soul to hell. A totally bitchin’ horror show. You Only Live Once is the first release from Warning Label Records, and it’s a great one.
–jim (Warning Label)