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Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans weave uplifting patchwork of '60s folk and jazz on new CD

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Flower power is in full bloom in the '60s folk jams of Roman Rhodes and the Born Again Pagans. On their latest album The Emergent Sea, the Pagans weave together a patchwork of hippie-era acoustic rockers, jazz, and psychedelic music. However, the group is no nostalgia cheese festival but nor are they ironic indie hipsters. They are simply the product of their eclectic influences, a multicultural unit that somehow is able to weld their worlds-apart roots together and sound like direct offspring of Haight-Ashbury.

The songs on The Emergent Sea have a definite California vibe. There's no denying the summer sunshine that illuminates cuts like the title track and “Poseidon." There's an underlying theme of water that carries like waves throughout the record. Furthermore, a number of tunes sound like beach property. “Ocean Sunset" is as photogenic as it reads with Rhodes' dreamy voice narrating the story in a silky smooth fashion that recalls the Zombies. “She Sells Seashells" also floats effortlessly with the gentle caress of Rhodes' singing. To call these songs pretty would be an understatement; they are absolutely gorgeous.

The soaring flute and bouncy backbeat of the title cut offers a sneak preview of the uplifting sentiments contained within. In a sense, the Pagans are the real The Beach Boys because their songs truly capture the cleansing escapism provided by the surf. In a world enveloped by negativity and anger, the Pagans remind us of the beauty around us. The band is having fun, and when the stomping “Grandma's Telecaster (The Good Old Days)" comes on, there's no way to resist them.

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