Composer Chip Davis projects the image of a sentimental, amiable fellow. And his easy-listening instrumental pop music (embellished with lite-classical accents), made famous by his bestselling Mannheim Steamroller Christmas recordings, closely mirrors those qualities. On Romantic Melodies, Davis (with periodic contributions from the London Symphony) creates a subdued disc that meanders for 52 minutes in search of a spark that never ignites. Davis's low-key melodies are pleasant enough, but in most cases, they're too simplistic to achieve much emotional depth. "Dancin' in the Living Room," for example, a tepid, sax-based attempt to capture the romantic charms of everyday life, sounds like something hatched by your cousin's wedding-reception band.
Things improve on the disc's second half with such tracks as "Chakra 4" (with its David Arkenstone-like rhythmic sheen) and the classical-flavored "Seven Stars of the Big Dipper." For romance, though, you could do better seeking out early releases from pianist Jim Brickman such as No Words, By Heart, and Picture This. --Terry Wood