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Roman Evening

San Francisco-based Roman Evening is the longtime side project of Adam Klein and Michael Mullen, both of whom perform in the quirky literary pop ensemble Glasstown. Since beginning to write songs together in 1996, the duo has used this group as a vehicle for exploring their more fragile, spiritual, and introspective side. Over the course of more than two years, the duo convened with their irregularly band, which features members of American Music Club, Mark Kozelek, Paula Frazer, and Tuxedomoon, slowly amassing an album's worth of searching, oddball pop-rock tunes.

Reportedly it rained every day Roman Evening spent in the studio recording their debut album, Together Now, and the music sounds like it. But it's a San Francisco sort of rain, gently melancholy, a misty caressing of sound, like dewy tears. Klein's voice is like a feather drifting down toward the bay, offering wistful meditations riddled with ambiguity, uncertainty, and self-doubt. The album's opener, "Let's Take It Back," sets the tone with its chorus, "Let's take it back at least a hundred years or two/Let's take it back before me and you," offering a plea for second chances in the face of a failed relationship which goes past despair to immolation.

The creaky, drifting instrumentation is just right for Klein's lyrical tenor: organs sigh, pedal steel cries, horns occasionally chirp like echoes of yesterday's merriment. Roman Evening's debut is a emotionally vulnerable, musically rich album that's obviously the product of seasoned songwriters who've done a bit of living.