Tonio K - Romeo Unchained (reissue)

Sunday 1st February 1998
Tonio K - Romeo Unchained (reissue)
Tonio K - Romeo Unchained (reissue)

RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 10475-1765
LABEL: Gadfly

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

In the six year gap after the release of 'Amerika', Tonio recorded but never released the ironic "Too Cool To Be A Christian' album but Capitol Records put out the live song EP "La Bomba". This pair of albums were released on A&M to the mainstream market and on the What? subsidiary of Word for the Christian bookstores. Ironically, the Word distribution gave the impression that Tonio was a CCM artist which wasn't the whole story. 'Romeo Unchained' shows a change in musical style which relies pretty heavily on synthesisers. Lyrically there is still a great deal of cleverness but less of the humour contained in his original recordings, however the songs do contain elements of hope! Never one for evangelising, TK's skill has always been as an observer and this album is a commentary on society's approaches to relationships/love. And in Tonio's view, it's all going horribly wrong! From the opening cut "True Confessions", "It's a jungle out there/It used to be a garden" through '"Romeo And Jane" or "Living Doll" and "Emotional War Games", he may have mellowed a little musically, his faith may be a signpost to some answers but these songs are still hard hitting. One song caught in the twilight zone is '"I Handle Snakes", a live favourite recorded back in 1980 and included more for nostalgic reasons at the behest of his A&R than because it fits musically or thematically.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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