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"The Red & Black reviews "Squid Record""

This is one debut record that’s hard to overlook.

It’s catchy, it’s consistent, it’s tight, and it flows like a punk-heavy, folk-infused, alt-pop rollercoaster straight out of the ’90s.

Romanenko’s style is tough to pinpoint, but think The Pixies meets Elliott Smith meets heavily punk-inspired bass lines.

Pair that with an infectious hook and the witticisms of a bold and clever lyricist, and the record proves to make quite the statement for the relatively new local band.

The album kicks off with attention-grabber “Salvation” and maintains the pace for just about 45 minutes.

It’s a dance-worthy, infectious alt-rock gem, but it’s equally deep and thoughtful.

What’s most interesting about “Squid Record” is that each song is as catchy as it is compelling. You’ll want to nod your head and tap your toes, but you’ll also appreciate the confident, witty lyrics that complement the music and lend it extra muscle.

Perhaps the most striking quality of the record is its ability to showcase the musical chemistry of the band while still highlighting the individual talents of each member.

Erika Rickson’s drums are loud, tight and fast, whereas Machado’s bass bounces along though each song, perfectly capturing its rhythm with an unmistakable punk flare.

And although frontwoman Jessie Marston’s fiery, haunting vocals almost fade beneath her rapid, lightly distorted guitar lines, they manage to penetrate the record and lend it added focus.

More than anything, this record establishes a sound so varied and so richly influenced that it almost defies genre.


At the core, this is definitely a pop record, but it has a rich background that diffuses throughout the record.

VERDICT: With “Squid Record,” Romanenko establishes itself as a band capable of delivering confident, catchy and an all-around enjoyable songs that both excite and stimulate thought.

You’ll be humming the hooks for days. - Brittany Forrestal

"Flagpole Magazine reviews "Squid Record""

As rad as this record is, it nonetheless falls into a sad category: top-shelf material weakened by poor vocal mixes. But don’t tune out yet—it’s a bit naïve to expect perfection from a band self-releasing its debut, and listening to Squid Record, once you’ve tweaked the mix a bit, is really a rewarding experience.

The package delivers 40 minutes of enthusiastic, defiant, punk-influenced pop tempered with just the right amount of melancholy and delivered through incisive, poetic lyrics and hooks that smack of ability. It’s enough to effectively magnetize even the snobbiest of musicphiles. Guitarist/vocalist J. Marston pretty much rips it straight through the collection, leaving me wondering how she really growls and coos, and if she can wield the axe as skillfully as she does on record in the passion of the Present; I mean, I thought of Dave Mustaine once or twice while listening. This is more NYC punk than Megadeth, though, and the rest of the band definitely holds these tracks down for whatever abuse is necessary: the drums are loud, busy and glorious bouncing beneath ‘70s-style boppin’ bass lines that sometimes push you until you’re about to pop. The group moves together, and they know how to craft some compelling tunes.

There really is a fine record shining through this inconsistent mix that reveals a fresh band well worth checking out. Do yourself an extra favor and go to one of their shows, too. This confrontational yet predominantly upbeat sound is almost guaranteed to please—think Pixies making out with Yes at a NOFX show. - Tony Floyd


June 2006 - "Hallelujah Brother" demo
April 2008 - Self-titled demo
September 2009 - "Squid Record" full length release



In late summer 2007, Jessie Marston and Erika Rickson arrived in Athens with big plans and even bigger talent.

Both women, musicians and true-to-heart Southerners, were drawn to the city by its reputation as a musical mecca.

"It's a great place to thrive creatively," said Rickson, 24.

"Where else can you go and any single night of the week, go play a show, or go watch a show?" said Marston, 20.

Together, Marston, Rickson and bassist John "TJ" Machado, 36, form the lineup of Romanenko, a band that combines haunting vocals, heavy bass lines and drums that set a solid foundation for the songs.

The results are layered, catchy songs that include Elliott Smith, The Breeders and, of course, The Beatles, among their influences.

"It's eccentric pop music," said Marston, alluding to the "folk roots" of the songs.

Although some of their songs, according to Rickson, "sound like happy, bob-your-head music," the lyrics are always of a sobering nature.

"I just can't think of anything poignant to say about being happy," said Marston, who writes the band's lyrics with spontaneity and little forethought.

In fact, Marston is where it all began, and for years, Romanenko was her informal solo project. After meeting Rickson, the two began playing together and self-recorded a demo in late 2007.

"[We recorded] it in the bedroom of a duplex," Rickson said. From there, the two began to play locally and continued to write new music.

But it wasn't until May 2008, when bassist Machado joined the line-up, that Romanenko became what it is today.

Since their time in Athens, Romanenko has remained active, playing, on average, at least one show a week.

"We play shows constantly," Marston said. "We just can't resist."

And for all of Romanenko's members, living a music-centered life proves to be a dream fulfilled.

"I've never been able to imagine myself doing anything else," said Marston, who has been a guitarist for six years and has been singing for more than twice as long.

Rickson is a life-long drummer who attended the Atlanta Institute of Music.

"I can't remember a time I didn't want to play drums," she said.

As for the current line-up and upcoming plans to record, Romanenko intends to be around for quite some time.

"We're looking long-term," Rickson said. "I can't imagine it any other way."