“Romantica“ has done more than pick up where it left off, it has grown wiser. The new record is a hallelujah from the mountaintop, country soul in the truest sense.” – Minnesota Monthly
“Shadowlands, the band’s first album in nine year and undeniably their best” – No Depression
“The band has reached the musical promised land with Shadowlands…. a salve for wounded souls and broken hearts.” – The Alternate Root
“The first thing you notice upon first listen to Shadowlands is the quiet and understated beauty and finessed compositional structures in the songwriting. This is the band’s fourth album and frontman/songwriter Ben Kyle has mastered a full-realized, lush sensibility in the songs he crafts for the band.”
“Starting with the opening track, “Let The Light Go Through You”, it’s a swirling, sweeping and yearning melody that is so complete, it’s an instant epic; this is serious, emotionally-pinching music made by thoughtful people.” – Popdose
“Lush, twangy instrumentation, heartfelt lyrics, and soulful harmonies.” – Glide Magazine
“Shadowlands has a lyrical and aural ambiance that is mesmerizing from beginning to end” – Twangville
“Not to disparage others, but Ben Kyle can write circles around 98% of the songwriters in this town, and I know he makes a few knees weak with his voice, too. This one was worth the wait.” – Chris Riemenschneider – MInneapolis Star Tribune
“An album both introspective and evocative” – Twangville
“It soothes, it heals, it inspires, it pushes me on to deeper things” Steve Stockman, Soul Surmise
“On Shadowlands, Irish expat/frontman/songwriter Ben Kyle breathes new life into Romantica with contemplative lyrics and velvety vocals while Tony Zaccardi (bass), Danger Dave Strahan (guitar), Ryan Lovan (percussion), Aaron Fabbrini (pedal steel guitar, dobro), Jayanthi Kyle (backing vocals), and Peter Schimke-McCabe (piano) create lush sonic layers.” – Erica Rivera – City Pages
“After an extended hiatus, Romantica are back with perhaps their finest album to date. From the hushed tones of ‘Harder to Hear’ to their tip of the hat to Gram Parsons, ‘Cecil Ingram Conor,’ Ben Kyle and the band sound like they mean business on the new Shadowlands album” says Bill DeVille of The Current.
Shadowlands was released on Last Chance Records on February 10th, 2017.
Romantica’s fourth album and first release in seven years was in danger of never happening, after frontman/songwriter Ben Kyle became ill. “It feels like a resurrection,” Kyle says of Shadowlands. As Ben told Andrea Swensson of The Current, “With the illness, with the hiatus over the past years, there was sort of a death for me; for the band, and for music even, in a way. It got to the point, with the illness, where I realized that I may not be able to write or play again. I may have to let everything go. It’s a really, really hard place to be, where you feel like life is just slipping away from you. So I think I got to the place there where I was able to let go and say that’s okay. I let go. I surrender. And I receive everything that I’ve ever been given, and everything that I will be given, as a gift. And so now I feel like everything I have is something that’s really given back to me. It does feel like a resurrection.”
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.
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.”
“I have five children, and between us there’s about thirteen kids in the band,” Kyle says. “We needed those years to ground ourselves and our families, so now we’re coming back together with a little more life experience.”
Now, with Romantica back on track and ready to hit the road, Kyle is decidedly enthused about the band’s future.
“We’re not taking ourselves too seriously, and we’re doing it for the right reasons,” he says. “We’re doing it for the joy of it, and because we love it. We’re a community of friends who like being together, and it’s valuable and fruitful for us to continue making music. It’s not about being successful in the generic sense. It’s about bringing the gifts we’ve been given and giving them to each other and the world in the way that only we will.”