Alt-rock outfit Paul Lewis & Romeo Rage recently released their new album, Sky’s Rust, via alternative label Realize Records.
Lewis explains, “The pandemic shook the world and affected everything that I do, so out of that came most of these tunes. Some of them I had written and hadn’t done anything with until this new idea came. I’ve always wanted to play edgier and darker material yet still having a pop sensibility about the tunes. I found some amazing musicians to play with and now we are ready to bring it.”
He goes on to add, “Some of the tunes have been based on dreams. Lyrically especially. Some are based on a turning point in my life where I had to decide if I was even going to start a whole new project. I had already written half of the tunes and then while scoring a film I was inspired even more and just kept writing. I’m feeling very satisfied and if success is upon creation…then I’m there.”
Sky’s Rust follows on the heels of Romeo Rage’s three-song contribution to the soundtrack for the independent feature film Dark State, which was released in AMC Theatres across the country in 2021. The songs were co-produced by Lewis and Emmy award-winning sound mixer Robert Venable.
Made up of Lewis (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and John Sanders (drums, percussion), according to Sanders, “Romeo Rage is what happens when two guys boldly blur several genres and marry West Coast riffs with East Coast edge. The result is a sort of controlled chaos that makes for a unique audio journey.”
Encompassing eight tracks, Sky’s Rust begins with “Rips,” opening tight, edgy guitars riding a fat, throbbing bassline and crunching percussion. Merging alt-rock flavors with hints of punk, the feel and flow of the harmonics are slightly dark and dirty.
Entry points include “Send Letters,” vaguely reminiscent of David Bowie with its spacey vocals and art-rock tones. Lewis’s voice imbues the lyrics with taut, evocative timbres. A personal favorite because of its stripped-down dark coloration and Lewis’ haunting vocals, “Ghost Town” riffles with exotic-flavored guitars and visceral percussion, taut and tension-filled.
For some reason, “Little Bit of Rain” conjures up suggestions of Cream, projecting both bluesy savors and lysergic textures. While “The Shift” rolls out on heavy drums akin to Jon Bonham and Led Zeppelin as Lewis’s ghostly, resonant voice infuses the lyrics with portentous timbres.
At once retro and contemporary, Sky’s Rust simultaneously delivers raw and complex leitmotifs, making it powerfully beguiling.