After a three-year break, former Chapel Hill band Roman Candle is back with its fourth full-length LP, Debris. This hiatus helped the band, as Debris seems more polished and diverse than its previous LP Oh Tall Tree In The Ear. While its first three records had strong folk roots, Debris draws more influence from rock, especially on “Not Strangers Anymore.”
This progression from folk to rock is a welcome change and seems inevitable as Nashville, the band’s new home, has become a hot spot for up-and-coming rock groups. The instrumentation has moved away from the very prevalent acoustic guitar on Oh Tall Tree to a sound more rooted in electric guitar and synthesizers. But the band hasn’t completely deserted the style that has gotten it this far — tracks like “Small Time” still have that old Roman Candle feel with echoed lyrics, piano and subdued guitar.
Debris is often fragmented and unrecognizable, making it an apt title for this album. Each track on Debris has its own sound, making the album lack a sense of continuity — but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing. From this fragmentation comes musical diversity, showing just how the band is exploring new genres. The title track, an instrumental session coupled with a spoken word dream, shows the band’s grasp of different musical stylings and “Fairfax 1040pm” finds the band experimenting with unique drum rhythms and synth patterns.
Debris shows Roman Candle’s evolution as a band — inspired by the growth of rock in Nashville — while still maintaining some of its roots. This transition is executed well, making Debris Roman Candle’s best album yet.