Dex Romweber Duo holds nothing back on new album

Some artists are just underrated, but Dex Romweber has been overlooked.

He’s been badass for more than 25 years, cruising down the forgotten byways of vintage rockabilly, surf and old-school rock ’n’ roll, first with the Flat Duo Jets and more recently at the head of the Dex Romweber Duo.

Really, though, Romweber is an anachronism, as demonstrated on his latest, “Is That You In the Blue?” (Bloodshot). He exists in a time of his own making on a original songs that are impossible to distinguish from the obscure covers he’s so fond of.

He’s a versatile guitarist, equally capable of blazing, noisy power on opener “Jungle Drums” or the blistering surf instrumental “Gurdjieff Girl” and laying back in a deep pocket on the title track or the empty-barroom-at-midnight “I Remember Darling.”

Romweber shows similar dexterity on the mic, growling out his vocals on the acoustic murder ballad “Homicide” and crooning with noirish delight on “The Death of Me,” intercut with trebly knife-edge guitar leads.

His sister Sara on drums helps steer the songs with sturdy, steady beats, and friends from Southern Culture on the Skids, the Old Ceremony and Savage Knights contribute here and there.

The result is an album that outpaces the Duo’s 2009 debut “Ruins of Berlin.” That was a good album, and guest spots from the likes of Exene Cervenka, Cat Power and Neko Case helped elevate Romweber’s all-too-underground profile. “Ruins of Berlin” felt restrained, though, in a way that “Is That You in the Blue?” does not.

There’s no holding back this time as the Romwebers race full-throttle toward scrappy, raucous rock ’n’ roll bliss.

— Text by Eric R. Danton, photo courtesy of Bloodshot Records

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Jungle Drums mp3

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