Sunday, October 22, 2017

Romeo Dance Cheetah - Magnificent Man

Romeo Dance Cheetah - Magnificent Man  

The cover of Romeo Dance Cheetah’s Magnificent Man gives some warning, for novices, of the whacky and distinctive point of view dominating the album’s nine songs. It’s gaudy, assertive, and colorful, but there’s real luster surrounding its imagery and feel. He certainly demands that you don’t take him seriously throughout much of Magnificent Man, but he likewise presents the material with such a knowing flair for what will work captivating his target audience that one ends up respecting the design and spirit of this album. His humor definitely can be heard as going over the top by some at a few points during Magnificent Man, but never so far over the edge that you feel an urge to turn off the song. There’s a natural exuberance coming across with these songs that is definitely the product of youth, in some respects, but there’s also a major part of Cheetah’s talent is wider and wiser than his age might otherwise imply.  
“Magnificent Man” doesn’t have any shame. Cheetah grabs the eighties arena rock style by the throat and gives us his best imitation but it never lacks ample style. The production has a ton of muscle, but there’s a lot of open space in the sound that lets these impressively large tracks breathes quite freely. The other songs of that type on Magnificent Man, “Party Poopin’” and “The Air Guitar Song”, hinge on the production and vocals. In both cases, Cheetah strides across the recording stage with immense confidence and owns these tunes with a level of authority we’d normally associate with older artists. The thrashing guitars of “Porcupine Love” come roaring out of the speakers and get up in the listener’s face. Like the other tracks on Magnificent Man, this one never overstays its welcome but it impressively maintains a high level of energy for its entirety without a discernible lull coming at any point.  
“Gone with the Wind” has a light bluesy panache that might seem like a surprise, but the guitars and vocals carry it off with equal aplomb. His vocal alternates between an oddly, at first at least, self conscious tone and more traditional singing./ We go back to more conventional ground with the song “1970’s Disco King” and this late song rates as one of the album’s possibly more underrated moments. It never comes off with the overblown production and sound of the earlier tunes, but it’s an effective number in its own way. The final one two punch of “Laser Beam Makeup” and “Live the Dream” couldn’t hardly be any more different. The sheer freakiness of the first song is completely flattened by the latter’s sensitivity and rousing emotion. The sheer amount of variety on the album will be surprising for those expecting some sort of one trick pony there’s clearly more room to run for Romeo Dance Cheetah if he continues the approach we hear on Magnificent Man. It’s a hell of an album and entertaining all the way through.

David Shouse

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