Where’s Ramona is an alternative rock / pop punk band from the University of Santo Tomas. Ever since starting out in 2015, the band had seen a steady growth of a small but loyal fanbase predominantly composed of college students. Their intimate rise culminated in the EP launch held in Route 196 on October 19, 2018. Overall, a standard issue career trajectory for a standard issue band.
For all intents and purposes, the EP is a short collection of five middle-of-the-road tracks. “The Reckless Romantic” displays an overall sense of safety, in the sense that every song took little to no risk to write. Flirting with elements of pop punk, the EP had only further watered down an already solute offshoot of punk. Granted, trading in ferocity for comfort had been done effectively in the past (see: the 2000s era of alternative rock and pop punk), and resonates better with the general populace. Aside from better technical skill and production, Where’s Ramona fails to stand out from the horde of high-school bands that sound exactly like them.
Digging deeper into the EP proves to be a challenge, since the tracks already give away what little they can offer in the first few listens. “Kiss Me” takes a full minute to formally begin: factor in the useless intro track “Morning”, the EP had already gone past the point of being engaging. “Together Soon” slows the momentum down even further with half the time spent stripping back the band’s sound, revealing nothing. “Empire” shows a sliver of promise with its energetic intro, but is quickly neutered with pop punk songwriting cliches.
At this point the EP had relied on nothing but surface level sentiment until the song “Tonight”. At first glance, the track appears to display more of the same sentiment the previous tracks have displayed. However, a look at the single art on Spotify and some research reveals that the song is actually aimed at the vocalist’s grandfather, who had recently passed. The loss of a family member is a sentiment I can relate to. Sadly, the underlying sentiment wasn’t enough for me to like the song itself. “Tonight” contains the best guitar riff of the EP, but never rises above the level of mediocrity the other tracks have previously displayed. Summarizing the entire album, the closing track “Universe” outlines all of the uninspired songwriting decisions all the previous tracks have tackled: a dragging intro section, tacky momentum breaks (3:42 being the worst example), and banal lyricism. Perhaps the only inventive passages the band has written in this EP are the lead-in to this track’s guitar solo, and the guiitself respectively.
In summary, “The Reckless Romantic” is 21 minutes of inoffensive sound. Give it a try to see if it appeals to you, but I believe that there are better ways to spend your time.