Roman Grey - Edge Of The Shadow

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited July 19 in year-1988

Roman Grey were a Canadian duo specialising in an energetic brand of synth-pop, they only released the one full-length album, here it is.

Roman Grey - Edge Of The Shadow
ARTIST: Roman Grey
ALBUM: Edge Of The Shadow
LABEL: Attic Records
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List

LINEUP: Ross Roman - keyboards, bass * David Grey - lead vocals, keyboards * Don Zlabotny - guitars * John Lechasseur - drums * Peter Hamilton - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shangri-La * 02 Minute To Midnight * 03 Ain't It A Shame * 04 All In Time * 05 Without Your Love * 06 The Cafe Noir * 07 Jade (Feel The Fire) * 08 Give Me Your Love * 09 Justine * 10 IBU * 11 Round And Round * 12 Goodbye



Roman Grey were a Canadian duo that were in operation between 1982 and 1990. As you can tell by the bandname these two blokes have the surnames Roman and Grey, though these aren't their real surnames at all. The pair originally from Ottawa are in fact Ross Rheaume and David Smith.

They get included here because they are Canadian and because the music sort of lands in the general direction of Glory Daze. The duo and their band tread into synth-pop territory mostly with the occasional detour into ballads and acoustic material. Still, it's a very energetic brand of synth-pop with lots of high energy percussion even the occasional blazing guitar solo plus the production by Rush alumni Terry Brown adds the professional sheen to this rather overlooked album.

Starting out in 1982, the duo first found their place in the electronic/dance scene and released their debut EP 'Look Me In The Eyes' in 1982 followed by 'Shakedown' in 1984. During those earlier years they honed their electronic style in the clubs of New York and became popular in some parts of Europe too.

They went missing for a few years, after financial struggles with one of their previous record labels (Food For Thought) set them back, but the duo put together a batch of new songs, and upon meeting Brian Allen (ex Rose and Toronto), Roman Grey signed on to Attic Records where Allen now worked, returning in 1988 for this full-length album which, aside from Canada, also saw local releases in Germany and Holland.

The Songs

Things gets off to a lively start courtesy of 'Shangri-La' which was also one of the two singles lifted from the album, see the video below. Easy to see why as this track is brimming with great ideas, including sizzling guitar work and busy synth parts.

The stabbing synths and driving rhythm section continues into 'Minute To Midnight', and it's on this one you can hear David Grey's take on an Al Stewart like inflection. Strange but true. Another super tune. 'Ain't It A Shame' loses the bouncy energy of the first two songs, instead this sits nicely in AOR territory. It's a long way from their musical origins for sure but I'm sure many readers here won't mind.

The dreamy ballad 'All In Time' flows effortlessly and makes for a perfect contrast. Structurally, it's an easy-on-the-ear song, easy-going ear candy. The tempo picks up for 'Without Your Love'. Don Zlablotny's guitar is upfront on this one. A track with more of a rock edge I feel. 'The Cafe Noir' is the next ballad, and again the Al Stewart vibe shines through on the vocal.

It's an all-out synth attack on 'Jade (Feel The Fire)'. Gotta love that pumping rhythm, think of guys like Robert Tepper and Robbie Nevil. That guitar solo is pretty fiery too. Not quite a ballad, 'Give Me Your Love' rolls on a slower tempo and veers back to their stock and trade synth-pop origins.

'Justine' was the b-side to the 'IBU' single, it's an acoustic ballad that is a pleasure to listen to, the brief flute solo is well placed too. As for 'IBU', this is about as hard rockin' as Roman Grey were ever going to get. The guitar and synth interplay is right on the money. Another good choice for a second single. The spirited synth overdrive continues with 'Round And Round' while the three-minute closer 'Goodbye' is a more subdued way to finish up the album.

In Summary

Without doubt, 'Edge Of The Shadow' really benefits from the super production from Terry Brown, giving this album a massive boost sonically. Unfortunately though, this would be the last that we would hear from this talented outfit.

Attic dropped them soon after - Roman Grey ending back at square one despite their best efforts. Disillusioned, the band went their separate ways and all was lost. There is no evidence of further work beyond this album so we can assume that they disappeared out of the industry altogether.

'Edge Of The Shadow' did receive a reissue in 2005 thanks to the Canadian label Unidisc, so for those that are interested in a physical copy you should be able to find one hopefully without too much problem.

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    PatrickHemmingPatrickHemming Tampa Florida
    Spot on review! Roman Grey definitely deserved to be heard by more than just the Hi-Tech aficionados. Quite nice to see them get some love this far down the line.
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