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Romantica: Shadowlands

Premiere Glide Magazine

November 22, 2016 – “It feels like a resurrection,” frontman/songwriter Ben Kyle says of Shadowlands, Romantica’s fourth album and first new release in seven years. Shadowlands will be released on Last Chance Records in the US and At The Helm in The Uk on February 10th, 2017.

Indeed, the emotion-charged set marks a creative rebirth for the sprawling Minnesota-based ensemble, with Kyle’s evocative vocals and vivid songwriting illuminated by his bandmates’ organic instrumental rapport. Romantica’s lush, melodic songcraft has won considerable attention in the Americana/alt-country community, but the Irish-born Kyle’s unique perspective resists easy categorization. While the band’s personnel has shifted and evolved over the years, its unique musical vision has remained consistent.

Shadowlands’ 14 lovingly crafted originals encompass intense introspection and celebratory uplift, with such heartfelt tunes as “Let the Light Go Through You,” “Harder to Hear,” “Give Your Heart a Shelter,” “Here It Comes” and the heartfelt Gram Parsons tribute “Cecil Ingram Connor” reflecting on life’s trials and triumphs in a manner that echoes the album’s title.

In order to capture the songs’ stirring sense of place, Kyle and company cut Shadowlands in a barn in the wilds of Southwestern Minnesota, which the band and engineer Brad Bivens converted into a recording studio.

After studying painting and fine art at Bethel University, Kyle formed Romantica with some like-minded locals. Within a few months, the band had signed with a local indie label and released its 2004 debut It’s Your Weakness That I Want, which received substantial regional attention, winning a Minnesota Music Award as Best Americana Album. 2007’s America raised Romantica’s profile considerably, winning widespread national acclaim. 2009’s Control Alt Country Delete was an audacious experiment, recorded on the cheap in a single day following a successful stand at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival. Despite its humble origins, the raw, unadorned Control Alt Country Delete earned much favor with the band’s fans.

Romantica’s extended hiatus—during which Kyle released a self-titled solo album as well as a collaborative effort with Carrie Rodriguez, pointedly titled We Still Love Our Country—was a product of the band’s disputes with its former label, as well as the realities of family commitments.

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