It is not often that you find an album that was recorded on a pink ukulele in the Bavarian Alps, but Marty Thompson can lay that unique claim to his new LP, Romantic Stories. The LP will be Marty Thompson’s second. Romantic Stories has traces of a Bavarian influence, but mostly contains a rock and country sound.
Thompson’s inclusion of a few different styles in Romantic Stories makes it difficult to grasp exactly what you are listening to. This confusion is mostly on display in the opening song “A Thud.” A plodding horn section has a distinct polka feel, but the guitar parts of the song have both a country twang and straightforward rock vibe.
“A Thud” might not grab the listener right away, but it does provide notice that the album is something different. The album and song might have been better served by “A Thud” being placed later in the track listing for Romantic Stories. The track’s cross-genre style is also on display in “Maxhütte Trail” and “Anymore.”
At times Marty Thompson’s music brings to mind the Kings of Leon. Other parts of the record have shades of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Romantic Stories is at its best when Marty Thompson leans closer to straightforward Texas rock rather than overtly mixing styles. Even if other elements are in place, the tracks with a more defined sound are the best ones on the record. These are also likely to become the best live songs from the album.
The most outstanding track on Romantic Stories is “Wünderweg.” Thompson’s energetic guitar plays a more central roll on the track than it does on the majority of Romantic Stories. The way that the guitar’s role in “Wünderweg” changed the pace of the record instantly grabbed my attention.
Other songs where Thompson’s skills with a guitar are present are “In The Monk’s Garden” and “Face Of God We Climb.”
It is not that an album like Thompson’s cannot contain multiple genres. Blending diverse types of music into one record has frequently produced amazing results. When threading together different forms of sound, it does help that there is some commonality between the styles. It is difficult to find that middle ground on Romantic Stories. Individually, there are interesting moments on Romantic Stories, but collectively the record is chaotic.
Marty Thompson wrote and recorded Romantic Stories himself. He played guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, and percussion instruments. He also recorded all main and backing vocals. Donna Bassham added piano on “White Piano.” Drums and horns on Romantic Stories are accredited to “the wizards.”
The ten-track Romantic Stories is slated for release on May 23. The record is Thompson’s first since his 2015 debut, If You Could See Me Now.
Marty Thompson “The Face Of God We Climb” –
This is a sponsored review. All views in this post are objective and only reflect the opinions of the author.