UK band THE ROOM was formed in 2010 by former Grey Lady Down members Martin Wilson and Steve Anderson. They completed an initial line-up in 2011, and released their debut album in 2012 through US label Melodic Revolution Records. “Beyond the Gates of Bedlam” is their second studio production, and was released through UK label Bad Elephant Music in 2015.
The Room is a band that describes themselves as a melodic rock band, a description that is as revealing as it is confusing. It is clear that strong and compelling melodies is something of a central focus for the band though, so it is a fair description of what they are about even if not all that revealing.
The main dominating aspect of their compositions is, at I experience this album at least, the lead vocals of Martin Wilson. His voice is one that initially sounds a bit on the rough side, and in my view he isn’t a classic rock vocalist as such either. He does have a melodic delivery, even if it does sound a tad unpolished at times, but what he also has and use to very good effect is a natural talent for subtly theatrical vocals, often emphasized by the use of a vibrato touch at the end of the vocal delivery. A subtle dramatic effects used extensively throughout this album, and one that effectively underlines the emotional impact of the songs and the lyrics.
Musically we’re back in the first half of the 1980’s with this production, an album that exists somewhere on the halfway stage between Magnum’s “On a Storyteller’s Night” and Marillion’s “Misplaced Childhood”, in my view with a clear emphasis on the former. Pumping bass guitar, firm but toned down guitar riffs, with elegant use of plucked guitar details and flowing guitar solo runs as key elements. Keyboards will ebb and flow in use and intensity, providing subservient backing as well as more forceful textures depending on need, as well as being used to create moods and atmospheres of a more cinematic nature on occasion. The songs have a general tendency to alternate between gentler and harder edged sections, and the greater majority of verse and chorus sections tends to revolve around a sound and style that will be rather familiar to fans of Magnum in general and the earlier referenced album of theirs in particular. Occasionally the band will take on more of a neo-progressive oriented vibe as well, although more often than not these are explored in the instrumental sections of the songs. Cue the Marillion references.
While this album may not score too many points in terms of innovation or even sounding like an album made in 2015, those with a strong affection for albums such as Magnum’s “On a Storyteller’s Night” should find The Room’s sophomore production to be a real treat. Especially those who enjoy hearing music of this particular nature explored with a subtle theatrical panache.
My rating: 78/100
Carrie; Full Circle; My Friend Jack; As Crazy as It Seems; She Smiles; The Book; Masquerade; Splinter; The Hunter; Bedlam