Images 13

Dexter Romweber’s image as an outsider/eccentric is less significant than his stature as an incomparable iconoclast and singular stylist who draws from a deep well of early rock ’n’ roll, blues, jazz, country, surf, and vintage TV and movie soundtracks to create hauntingly personal music — initially as half of the Flat Duo Jets, and more recently with the Dex Romweber Duo alongside sister and ex-Let’s Active drummer Sara Romweber. Dex’s obsessive romanticism, and the siblings’ spare rhythmic simpatico playing, are as strong as ever on Images 13. Dex’s booming baritone growl drives home the brooding Southern-gothic vibe of “Long Battle Coming” and “Baby I Know What It’s Like to Be Alone,” the spooky/sweet regret of “We’ll Be Together Again” (written by vintage Sharon Sheeley in the wake of boyfriend Eddie Cochran’s death), and an uncharacteristically poppy reading of the Who’s “So Sad About Us.” And his twangy, rumbling guitar and Sara’s propulsive pulse merge gloriously on the instrumental bruisers “Prelude in G Minor,” “Blackout!” and “Blue Surf.” With an effective instrumental album-closer in the form of “Weird (Aurora Borealis)” by Outer Limits soundtrack composer Harry Lubin, Images 13 compellingly evokes a tantalizing alternative reality where popular music is still dangerous, unpredictable, and crazy. — SCOTT SCHINDER