Review: Ruben Romano ‘The Imaginary Soundtrack To The Imaginary Western – Twenty Graves Per Mile’

In my opinion, it takes a lot of graves that Ruben Romano has passed to steer up emotion that can drive a hysterical cattle herd into a calm rodeo. The man (let’s all admit) came crashing in on his ride cymbal in the mid ‘90s in and out of some of the best bands, if not some of the best records with those bands. Indeed, it was not irony but synchronicity that placed Romano in the right time, and in turn, had all eyes on Nebula’s To The Center.

Ruben Romano ‘The Imaginary Soundtrack To The Imaginary Western – Twenty Graves Per Mile’ Artwork
Ruben Romano ‘The Imaginary Soundtrack… – Twenty Graves Per Mile’ Artwork

From a founding member of Fu Manchu until over ten years ago when he brought The Freeks to fruition, the moments were divine interventions. If you ask Romano at a Freak Valley festival interview, he might tell you it was accidental. Twenty Graves Per Mile was no accident waiting to happen. It wasn’t long after the passing of Tom Davies that had him stay centred on the focal point of a silent Western film score reeling through his mind. Rumors divulged that a novel is also to follow. 

Now available as a digital release in early 2024, we can all collectively join Romano’s trail of sundering compositions that echo an imaginary Western sound composition foremost. Outside of any attempt to produce a solo album, it’s certainly a solo quest undertaken by our legendary musician friend turned composer.

Consciously, he may not have collectively sorted the ideas out thoroughly enough to conceive a solo album with a reprise, however, after effortlessly dissolving from the dilation of his pupils, he started writing a soundtrack alone, and quite possibly somewhere on a desert highway. It reeks of a heavy, iridescent smokey surf guitar at some points, it stretches harmony, if not your mind. It also gets deeper and more husky on tracks like Not Any More but comes out smelling like roses pretty much. 

We all know Romano in one way or another. Whether it’s through one dimension or another or in front of a gong, he comes through the foggy haze with class and record taste that includes Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith. Twenty Graves Per Mile will either end up on your playlist for our solo road trip on Ayahuasca or inspire you to see music as a vision.

Expect more news to be announced soon, and along with the digital soundtrack that’s available now on Bandcamp, there is a potential cassette release on the horizon through Northern Haze.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Spring ‘The Strutter’ Chase