The Room are the new face of progressive rock music. Formed in 2010 by Andy Rowe (bass guitar and vocals) along with Martin Wilson (lead vocals) and Steve Anderson (lead guitar and stunt guitar), the latter two from the highly recommended Grey Lady Down, the band have spent the last decade treading the boards with a certain wariness that can only be reached with experience of what is left of our once great music industry.
After two rewarding albums, “Open Fire” (2012), “Beyond the Gates” (2015) and a Live DVD “Live at The Robin 2” in 2017, they recently signed up to the White Star Records label and were given full reign to cut loose musically with their magnificent third studio album, “Caught By The Machine” (2019), produced by John Mitchell.
This is the album that The Room cut loose in a full rush for musical glory. With the three original founders being joined by the excellent additions of Eric Boullette on violin and guitar, a keyboard wizard in the shape of Mark Dixon and the pounding drums of Chris York, The Room’s sound is now complete.
If you like Peter Gabriel era Genesis, or even Marillion, then this will suit you down to the ground. The Room really give it plenty of bottom end and rock out but there is more than a little light and dark merged within, and this really gives the album depth. It is still melodic rock at its best, but played with a power and passion that gives it its own originality. In fact one wonders (with their commercial sense) if a songs like “Broken” or “It’s Not My Home” could not be hit singles, if there still is such a thing anymore.
Martin Wilson is a unique vocalist/story teller whose stylish delivery has long been admired in rock circles. Each song here is like a miniature narrative, using the album’s title as its theme and the unfortunate fact that we all get caught up in the machine of everyday life, relationships and work. This suits Wilson’s style perfectly but still leaves room for a wonderful guest appearance by Touchstone’s Kim Seviour, who disturbingly portrays to perfection the role of a deranged cat lady on the epic “Drowning in Sound”.
Steve Anderson is a hugely underrated guitarist and on this album is allowed plenty of room to wig out in style; “Just Walk Away” and “Run” being fine examples of his trade while the opening to “Drowning in Sound” brings high drama.
Eric Boullette’s violin is rather under used on this album, but I hear this particular absence is more than made up for in the ‘live’ arena. Boullette does however get to play a lot of guitar alongside Anderson on this recording, beefing up the sound and melody.
Martin Dixon’s keyboards are used to good effect here, keeping each song moving along and when given the chance to solo, both hands are on the wheel.
The rhythm section packs a mighty thump but it is as a whole that the band really dazzle, switching tempos and the colors of the music at will and keeping every note interesting. “Vanished” is a fine example of The Room at their best, a song of mighty power and clocking in at a weighty eight minutes.
The Room have already toured with Inglorious (who they must have blown off the stage) as well as the more appropriate Lifesigns and Soft Machine. Last summer was spent concentrating on the European festival circuit, which gained the band much needed exposure.
In 2016 they were nominated by the Classic Rock Society for the ‘Best New Band Of The Year’ award. This year they have the ‘Album of 2019’ title, nominated and bestowed by Mott The Dog.
We now have the new album to savor plus an upcoming tour of Great Britain. I’m sure by the end of this year they will be very well established so pop into The Room now and get yourself to the front of the pack.
Bodies In The Road
The Golden Ones
just Walk Away
Drowning In Sound
It’s Not My Home
Steve Anderson – lead guitar, keyboards and vocals
Eric Bouillette – guitar and violin
Mark Dixon – keyboards and vocals
Andy Rowe – bass guitar and vocals
Martin Wilson – lead vocals
Chris York – drums and vocals
Note: Written by Mott The Dog, who can be found kenneled at Fletchers’ Folly on the Dark Side, Siam Country Club Road, Pattaya.