Call it fate, call it coincidence or simply call it luck, but something powerful occurred over the course of three short months in 2004 when veteran musician and songwriter Robert Romano met singer Kelley Christian and producer David Castell. Romano, formerly of Stranger Than Fiction, was on the verge of quitting the music industry altogether after 15 years when he was introduced to Christian, a classically-trained singer and well-known model, who seemed like the perfect person to front the new project he'd formed with long-time collaborator Brent Irish. An encounter with Castell, acclaimed for his work with Blue October and Burden Brothers, cemented his desire to leap back into the musical fray with impassioned fervor.
Taking cues from intelligent, down-tempo electronic acts like Thievery Corporation and Portishead, Romano set to penning the compelling, layered tracks that now form Shock of Pleasure's debut album It's About Time. "We were simply trying to create something that we'd want to listen to," Romano explains. "I knew this was the right direction to go in, it just felt right. We knew it had to stand alone in a super-saturated music world, something clean, even optimistic. We wanted the record to be very electronic, even slick - without losing the spirit of the original compositions."
Once the aim was clear and Josh Curry was added on bass at the end of 2005, the group went into Castell's Dallas studio where the producer fit in their recording sessions as a favor between his other acts over the course of nearly two years. In the studio, the compositions of the songs, which Romano initially conceives with just a guitar and the mindset of a studied architect who arranges sound in a similar manner one would arrange space, were refined, melding delicately grooving beats, sparse melodies and Christian's ethereal vocals. Songs like "This Is a Test," the disc's first single when it was initially self-released in September of 2007, and "Cruel and Unusual" dance quietly through dynamic, undeniably lovely sonic landscapes that reveal Romano's role as a "student of music" and his practiced skill of the craft, as well as Christian's vocal range and talent. The album, which will be re-released nationally with two additional tracks (reinvigorated covers of The Carpenters' "Superstar" and the Dennis Yost classic "Spooky") on August 12th, has received nothing but praise, accruing the band an intimidating list of accomplishments that include the No. 12 spot on the CMJ music charts in February 2008, appearances on nationally syndicated radio shows like The Lex and Terry Show, play on the ABC Family Channel show Wildfire, dance remixes of the songs in clubs across the country, and regular rotation on dozens of radio stations. The buzzing response of both the industry and music listeners displays the band's enormous crossover potential, suggesting, as Romano says, that they "have discovered the possibility of a far-reaching fan base beyond your typical 'electronica' band."
Romano, a self-proclaimed "composer and assembler of people," has drawn up a collection of both songs and musicians that will invigorate the music industry with thoughtful, intelligent music that is both notably recognizable and strikingly original and fresh - something not many acts these days can lay claim to. "We want to be making music that's unique and inspired," Romano says. "That's always been our objective. This is informed music in terms of composition. It's more classically inclined in terms of chord progression and temperament. In that sense it's very 'grown-up' music. But on the other hand, while Kelley is classically trained, as far as being a performer and pop singer she has a fresh spin on the sound. That's how it works - something about it seems really familiar and something about it sounds really new and unheard of."