The Burning of Rome is an enigma of a local San Diego band. They aren’t the typical, emo-leaning types. Nor do they rely on dated fashion statements so prevalent in the ‘Rock’ scene. In fact one assumes their music would perplex most rock show attendees looking for instant gratification. They are a rock band but they play it through a kaleidoscope of influences–maybe they took Danny Elfman, Frank Zappa, Nobuo Uematsu (composer of famed Final Fantasy role playing video games) and fistfuls of mushrooms to bring the scrambling weirdo contingent their opus, Death Pop to life. An overall impressive and ambitious debut from this San Diego sextet, Death Pop sounds like what Neil Stephenson’s idea of pop music would be inside the Metaverse.
The melody on “For Fear of Time Machines” sounds like a keyboard interpretation of Loggins’ “Dangerzone” riff, with the song itself being shoved through an LSD tunnel that resides in Lynch’s Black Lodge. In between those moments of weird calliope marches, little lunatic carnival barker yells infuse Disco Volante-era Mr. Bungle into moments of temporary lucidity. Dulcimer, reverse vocals, Rhodes piano and violent bursts of guitar pepper each tune in tasteful helpings. I like it the more I listen to it, and I’ll admit the song that captured me was their most traditional, “Cowboy Death-Pop Star,” a tune that sounds like it was recorded on a Fischer Price toy microphone—its also the most accessible of the records 14 tracks.
If you’re bored with the same old album being put out by the same old band in the same old clothes, you’re money or downloading time would be well spent picking up this nugget of eclectic music.