When a member of the band presents you with an album rather excitedly, like a new parent showing pictures of their baby, it intrigues.
The Room, now a six piece band predominantly from the South East of the UK have been working on the album for over two years now, and the reason for the lengthy recording process is obvious from the first song. This is so well produced without losing any of its purpose or feeling. Polished but this album has soul.
Martin Wilson writes some truly emotional words, painting a musical picture. He is not afraid to talk about subjects others shy away from such as the plight of refugees. His ability to draw you in, longing for the days when you had a lyric sheet with words big enough to read without a microscope is up there with any artist out there at the moment.
The rhythm section, comprising of Andy Rowe bass and Chris York drums drives all of the songs without taking away from the subtleties of the rest of the band. John Mitchell producer has ensured that there is bite from the offset, however sometimes less is more and the balance is perfection. There is nothing here which is not needed, there’s no egotistical fills. This is a true band effort based on what is best for the listener as opposed to the band themselves.
The band are keen to not get pigeon holed by genre. And I can see their point. There are elements of AOR, some leanings towards prog, along with some subtle but obvious nods to a more commercial rock sound. The single “Broken” is a snappy three minute near pop song which is designed to bring in a new audience and I understand this fully. This is a band that deserves to be listened to by a wider crowd who will find it very hard not to be seduced by the waves of rock being washed over them.
On previous releases I felt that a second lead guitarist would be of benefit purely to make the sound larger and with the wonderfully French Eric Bouillette joining Steve Anderson they have achieved this. Eric even adds violin and the two guitarists with differing styles make for an exciting twin attack and allows the band to stretch their legs and show off their talents to great effect. What is refreshing is that we are given solo after solo which are there to swoop around the rest of the band complementing the songs brilliantly.
In some ways Mark Dixon, taking over on the keyboards had a tough job replacing such an integral part of the band, but again he’s put his own sound in the songs, using some great effects which can be picked out throughout the record. Again, comparing this record to previous ones it is obvious the care and love the band and production have shown in order to showcase every member to the full. This is an album which needs to played time and again as the listener will hear new things every time. Play on repeat and sit back and simply enjoy. Cut out any distractions and savour an hour of joyful music, which will give you big grin and subtle sad tears throughout due to the subject matter and musicianship.
It’s very difficult to pick out any highlights; such is the high standard of every song. If I was pushed I would say that “Drowning in Sound” with Eric showcasing his violin skills is a wonderful track.
Every song stands out in its own right. All I can say is this is an essential album for any rock music lover. This is an album which needs to be played in its entirety time and time again.
If there’s any justice these guys should be playing some bigger venues soon. Live they give their loyal fans everything, and you leave feeling happy, elated and proud to be part of something special. Rather like I felt listening to this album.
Already a contender for album of the year for me, well played The Room!
The Room – Caught by the Machine – is out now via White Star Records.