Chromatics | Night Drive

Italians Do It Better (2010)
By ANDREW GRAHAM  |  November 16, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

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Independent Italo-disco throwback record label Italians Do It Better is rooted as deeply in punk-rock DIY as it is in dance 12-inches from the '70s and drugged-out '80s club-night afterparties. Night Drive, Chromatics' first album for the label, reflects all these influences — and its expanded re-release offers even more to love than the first time around a few years back. A murky thematic narrative runs through Night Drive, which is a dimly lit travelogue featuring a late night, an empty road, a lonely heart, and a mysterious woman. Producer/musician/songwriter Johnny Jewel suffuses the tracks with echoing beats and sleepy-sinister keyboard tones that complement Adam Miller's sparsely picked guitar lines even as Ruth Radelet's voice, heavy and intimate, draws you into her romantic intrigue. Over numerous line-up shuffles and dramatic musical recalibrations, this band have arrived at an ideal combination of sounds and style. In less capable hands, Night Drive's parts might blur together into a soporific whole, but Chromatics don't let the production dominate. The well-crafted "Night Drive," "Healer," and "Mask" stand on their own; so does the newly unearthed gem "Circled Sun." And at $5, this is one reissue that won't make fans cranky about buying it twice.

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music Reviews, Johnny Jewel, reissue,  More more >
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