Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rick Hromadka - Trippin’ Dinosaurs


Singer-guitarist Rick Hromadka has recorded four albums with the Los Angeles-based power pop band Maple Mars, and prior to that he fronted the Double Naught Spies. In 2012, he embarked on a side project dubbed Ruby Free with his wife, singer Lisa Cavaliere. Hromadka does all the vocals and plays all the instruments on the recently released Trippin’ Dinosaurs. He has jokingly promoted the CD as a the product of an over-inflated ego, but in reality it serves as an impressive solo debut.

The CD is bookended by high-energy songs that deal with communication breakdowns. “Conversation” is more politically inclined, as Hromadka uses a guitar-driven arrangement to drive home the point that we can’t simply sit back and let the world degenerate into violence and injustice. On “Listen I’m Waiting To Sleep,” he describes the destructive power silence can have on personal relationships. “Unveil all your emotions,” he advises, “before they all disappear.” The song is more elaborate than “Conversation,” with a distinct tempo change set in the middle. Trippin’ Dinosaurs also deals with tangled relationships on “There She Goes,” which finds Hromadka really breaking loose on guitar toward the end, and on the slower but still engaging “Tough Letter Bomb.”

Some of the other songs here are more fun-oriented, like the funky “It’s All In Your Head,” which takes a satiric swipe as facile celebrities. “Dreams Of A Hippie Summer” lives up to its name with a succession of picturesque images set to a breezy, 1960s style arrangement. The mysterious “Face On” slinks along to guitar and percussion, and includes an imaginative instrumental passage. All 10 tracks on Trippin’ Dinosaurs feature Hromadka crafting catchy melodies and creating enticing layers of vocals.

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