It is a joy to see there are still proper rock bands coming through in these days of music business industry change. The Room are one such band – shining a light and showing the way.
The group was formed in 2010 by Martin Wilson, without doubt one of the best progressive rock vocalists around. Martin is a veteran of the rock business, having been a founding member of the excellent neo-progressive rock band Grey Lady Down and singing on all four of their splendid studio albums and two live albums. But after ten years (1992-2002) of excellent music and hard slog, Grey Lady Down was finally put to rest, mainly due to a lot of the band members being under different personnel pressures, not their love of the music.
To have a vocalist of Martin Wilson’s quality not working in a band was a tragedy. Fortunately in 2010 a meeting took place between Wilson and Andy Rowe and plans were made and strategies worked out. Steve Anderson the lead guitarist from Grey Lady Down was quickly taken into the fold along with young keyboard player Steve Checkley, fitting in perfectly with his symphonic keyboard leanings. Andrew Rae, a childhood friend of Martin Wilson, was brought in to lend a classy hand to the drum stool.
Magical sparks immediately started firing and songs were written. Obviously with two ex-members of Grey Lady Down in the band there are comparisons, but then it would be very disappointing if there weren’t.
2012 saw the release of their debut album “Open Fire”, chock full of energetic progressive rock songs and excellent musicianship. Sadly in 2013 Andrew Rae had to put down the drum sticks due to tinnitus. A replacement had to be found and Chris York secured the position. York is an excellent drummer and not to be messed with as he is also a Tae Kwon Do instructor.
The next album, “Beyond the Gates of Bedlam”, was released in 2015 and this is where The Room really hit their stride.
Doing the job of frontman, Martin Wilson’s vocals dominate proceedings and bring dramatic phrasing to the stories with wonderful vibrato in his singing. This is beautifully illustrated in the opening song “Carrie” and also “My Friend Jack”.
But this is no solo band and the keyboards are classic and full of frantic chords, played with intensity and atmosphere that guides all the songs along their many different paths, best emphasized on “Full Circle”.
“As Crazy As It Seems” is as near to a power ballad as The Room get, but it also allows Steve Anderson to show off his axe chops. The rhythm section as usual does not perhaps get the credit it deserves, but it’s behind every great band.
The Room are now signed to Bad Elephant Music and there is a third album on the way as well as multiple festival appearances coming up, so hopefully 2018-2019 will be the time The Room take over. They certainly deserve it.
Anybody who likes classic Genesis or Marillion will enjoy The Room and the new lick of paint they give to melodic progressive rock with fine body.
Mott the Dog Rating: 5 Stars
Martin Wilson – vocals
Steve Anderson – guitar
Chris York – drums
Steve Chickley – keyboards
Andy Rowe – bass guitar
My Friend Jack
As Crazy As It Seems
Note: Written By Mott The Dog from the gates of Jameson’s The Irish Pub, Soi AR, North Pattaya.