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Room, The: Caught By The Machine

It’s been interesting watching The Room evolve since their 2012 debut album Open Fire, an early Saga inflected, but piano led effort a shimmer of progressive melodic rock. Follow up release, Beyond The Gates Of Bedlam saw a less piano and more keyboard focused outlook stretching the band’s soundscapes without feeling too far removed from the emotions and ideals of before. Now, teaming up with the burgeoning UK label White Star, The Room deliver their third vision, Caught By The Machine, an insightful look at modern life that doesn’t simply follow the same hackneyed opinions, instead focusing on the individual as we all struggle to get from day to day. Thankfully those serious themes come wrapped up tight in memorable, hook laden packages where the nearer you reach to their inner delights the more engaging are layers discovered.

Martin Wilson still, and undoubtedly always will, reminds of Saga’s Michael Sadler and with The Room’s focus slowly turning from the expressive keyboard work of Mark Dixon and Steve Anderson to the guitar gyrations of Eric Bouillette and that man Anderson again, so the overall similarities are often to the fore. And never more so than across opener “Bodies On The Road”, where a supremely upbeat bounce makes way for an aggressive chorus that quickly digs deep into the mind. Add in a blistering guitar solo and to say we’re off and running would be an understatement. Something made all the more ironic when “Run” itself decides to change tack and become an enigmatic shimmer of emotion and atmosphere. Already bassist Andy Rowe has made his presence strongly felt, his ability to sit tight in the pocket matched eagerly by his technical prowess and how he uses it to embellish as well as ground the music.

Lead single “Broken” is another juxtaposition of honest, harsh themes and a hugely sing along chorus, where the gang backing vocals illustrate the eye for detail that’s been applied on Caught... Although “The Golden Ones” may outdo all its album mates to win the mantle of most stick in the mind moment, the hook and melody lines augmented by possibly the best vocal in sight. From there things evolve somewhat, the band’s earlier, more progressive side slipping into sight on the melancholy of “Just Walk Away”, even if the melody in the middle section strays inadvertently close to “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, although the two bands sound nothing alike. “Drowning In Sound” is an enigmatic grower, part-Saga, part-Marillion where Kim Seviour (ex-Touchstone) makes a sumptuous guest appearance, while Lonely Robot/Arena man John Mitchell also lends a hand on occasion, whereas “Clover” combines the 80s pop sheen the band utilised so well on previous albums to a proggier outlook. The more involved “It’s Not My Home” and closing throb of “Bloodstream” do likewise, an album that begun as a boisterous prog rocker, slowly becoming a more refined, if no less memorable beast.

From their very beginnings it was obvious to hear that The Room were something rather special. With Caught By The Machine they’ve undoubtedly confirmed it.

Track Listing
1. Bodies on the Road
2. Run
3. Broken
4. The Golden Ones
5. Just Walk Away
6. Drowning in Sound
7. Clover
8. Vanished
9. It's Not My Home
10. Bloodstream

Added: February 24th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Room online
Hits: 773
Language: english

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