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Meet the Red Romance

Three years ago, I wrote the first ever press release for a band called Ambulance LTD, and in 2004 they released a self-titled debut that has been one of the most universally liked records in my collection. Eventually, they evolved into a super live act as well, routinely stunning audiences with their energetic amalgamation of American rock’s best bits.

But, somewhat routinely, even bands like that can fizzle out, and this year saw three of Ambulance’s founding members — bassist Matt Dublin, guitarist Benji Lysaght, and drummer Darren Beckett — parting ways with frontman Marcus Congleton. They quite quickly reemerged as the Red Romance, with Dublin moving out front on lead vocals and rhythm guitar. With newly recruited bassist Adam Chilenski in the mix, the Red Romance have recorded a few demo tracks and are playing gigs in New York.

I caught the band at Pianos on the Lower East Side last night, almost by accident, and was completely excited about the Red Romance’s future. It’s classic rock’n’roll, anchored by Beckett’s rock steady, Motown-influenced backbeats and Lysaght’s subtly innovative lead guitar work. Up front, Dublin’s still finding his way, but the sly chorus on “What You Wanted” shows he’s got a bit of attitude to share. PETER GASTON

Now Hear This:
The Red Romance – “What You Wanted (demo)”

Talk: Are you falling in love with the Red Romance? COMMENT

On the Web:
The Red Romance on MySpace