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Album review: 'Doomed to Bloom'


Justin Roeland

'Doomed to Bloom'


With the release of his third full-length album "Doomed to Bloom"- out on January 18 - Ithaca multi-instrumentalist Justin Roeland has delivered a dazzling collection of folk rock gems that also satisfy the trend in indie music toward psychedelic pop.

"Doomed to Bloom" is filled with slow-burning songs that are best to sink into with a superior stereo system. And if you're into vinyl, you'll be especially rewarded by the warm, layered arrangements of reverb-soaked electric guitars and vocal harmonies. Playing all the instruments on the album, Roeland presents the listener with a vivid, hallucinatory Americana that sounds like the perfect soundtrack to a joy ride on a desolate desert highway in the black of night.

The album's shimmering timbres are nothing new, but the unpredictability of the phrases as they churn through dense chord progressions gives the music a welcome freshness. Roeland's vocals are sung with an effortless cool that belies melodic precision, and the sense of intention in his voice is uncommon and rejuvenating. With a nasal, folk-pop twang that manages to sound both earnest and detached, Roeland seems too channel both Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and Ryan Adams, at various times.

Roeland's fully formed, lush production and Matthew Succucciamorano's mastering make standout tracks like "Neither Side," "Perfect Night," and "Blood Drum" all the more immersive. "Doomed to Bloom" is a transporting record that will undoubtedly be on my list of best local albums in 2019.