Release Date: Nov 10, 2017
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
One of the drawbacks of being a visionary in popular music is that you usually have to deal with other people as you try to make your ideas understood. Even the most talented folks sometimes have trouble finding worthy collaborators, and when they do, there isn't always a guarantee that they'll stick around. If underground rock has ever produced an idea man, it's Ian Svenonius, and from the Nation of Ulysses in the '80s to Chain & the Gang in the 2010s, he's led a number of high concept rock bands, most of which experienced a fair amount of personnel turnover.
A s frontman of Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up and latterly Chain and the Gang, Ian Svenonius has spent a quarter of a century sprinkling agitprop-heavy garage rock with gospel influences and James Brown showmanship, with mixed results. His solo debut represents a departure thanks to its wilfully lo-fi arrangements, his voice and guitar sketches fleshed out by just a drum machine. Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day, a stripped-down reworking of a recent Chain and the Gang song, is a call to arms that is, improbably, equal parts the Stooges' I Wanna Be Your Dog and Mary Beard history lesson (too few songwriters today give the Ostrogoths their due), but there is precious little that sticks elsewhere.