Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

No Rome – Saint Laurent

The takeover of the site by The 1975 wasn’t cancelled, it’s just delayed.


Iain Mew: I love the sound. Everything from the filtered beep loops to the miniature squeaks of acoustic guitar to the final wash out to haunted sea sounds gorgeous and the product of an extensive, thoughtful design process. I would love to hear an album of soundscapes from him along these lines. What more conventional song there is in “Saint Laurent” is the only thing that spoils the effect a bit, giving it form which can’t help but underwhelm compared to the possibility that was otherwise there.

Alfred Soto: The 1975 had a (heavy) hand producing this tinsel-edged amalgam of sounds from many lands: hints of high life guitars, K-pop syncopations, a Ferry-esque reversal whereby the object of desire is a Trojan horse for the singer’s deeper attachment to an icon. But these qualities are hard for a sweet little nuthin’ like “No Rome” to bear.

Will Rivitz: Pop music gone global! A Filipino singer triangulates the most anodyne of Canadian, American, British, Puerto Rican, and Nigerian smash hits, and the result is Matty Healy at his worst channeling Juice WRLD at his Juice-WRLDiest channeling Drake at his Drakiest channeling every mediocre British dancehall artist springing up in the wake of Views. This song is under four minutes and feels like seventeen.

Ian Mathers: That drifty, floaty bit at the end is lovely, but doesn’t help with the fact that the preceding minutes have felt a bit antic. It does ultimately work but at first it can feel like they’re throwing too much good stuff at the wall without actually waiting to see if it sticks. There’s something compulsive about the approach, which actually works – but this is probably a case where keeping the song this short was the right move.

Vikram Joseph: A twinkling, hypnotic patchwork that gently works a lo-fi aesthetic into distinctly high-res production, with disarmingly affecting results. The outro tips the mood of the whole song, retrospectively, into genuine melancholy, sublimely reminiscent of Wilco’s “Reservations”; tentative piano chords loosely suspended in haze.

Claire Biddles: Filipino singer and producer No Rome is the latest addition to the idiosyncratic roster of Dirty Hit, the London-based record label that was founded as an outlet for then-unknowns The 1975, and has since swelled to include a cluster of artists that are as esoteric as its central group’s influences. After signing to the label No Rome moved to London and shacked up with Matty Healy, who now refers to Rome as his “muse”, though the partnership is more equal and collaborative than that term suggests. Rome wrote “Saint Laurent” in Matty’s kitchen, and you can tell, in a good way — production-wise, it shares a deceptive lightness of touch with The 1975’s breezier songs; a luxe length of silk draped over a complex technological foundation. Rome’s lyrics are superficially conversational, but densely packed with narcissism, clipped syntax, and confused communication (“Tell me something, are you feeling the way I?/I can’t say that I’m feeling just fine I”) that feels wholly contemporary. “Saint Laurent” is a tricksy jewel box of a song.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: The production work here (an assist from The 1975’s Matt Healy and George Daniel) is pristine, full of gorgeous turns and seamless transitions from hyperactive electro-pop to more melancholy acoustic passages. On vocals, Rome Gomez puts in a charismatic performance, equal parts boasting and wistful, that almost hides that he’s saying nothing much.

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