The Room - Open Fire (MR Records)

Always interesting British prog rock revivalism
Release Date: 
10 Dec 2012 - 11:30pm


UK progsters The Room purvey an interesting, emotionally affecting brand of quintessentially English rock music. It’s never metallic enough to qualify as a full-on Metal as Fuck album of interest, but for those of you interested in gentler, more studied sounds there’s plenty here to enjoy.

They can rock it up when required, but seem at their best on mournful tracks such as the excellent Screaming Through the Noise, a near-seven minute trawl through misery that hangs on a gorgeous refrain to push it up towards the folder marked ‘something special’.

The one drawback for fans of a more metallic bent will be the vocals of  Martin Wilson – Not a bad singer but just a little too reedy for those brought up on LaBrie, Allen, Tate et al. At his best, as he is on the marvellously pompous A Multitude of Angels he sounds like an English version of Saga’s Michael Sadler – no bad thing at all if you like a bit of pomp rock – but elsewhere I can’t see his rather polite vocal style appealing to people who like ‘our kind of music’.

If you can make allowances for that however there’s a lot musically to get excited about.  The Room enjoy a bit of early eighties neo-prog – In the Shadows could easily have been written by any of those bands that followed Marillion on the hunt for mainstream acceptance  in 1985 (I swear I heard the words ‘eyes in the night’ at one point in the song – a tribute to Scottish proggers Pallas?) and this format allows the musicians full license to stretch out. Two Steves, Anderson and Checkley (on axe and keys respectively) both offer fine performances as …Shadows snakes it’s way through nine and a half minutes of drama and bedroom angst, and there is an awful lot of instrumental prowess on show throught Open Fire to keep ears interested.

An enjoyable, at times splendid, exercise in vintage prog sounds, then, Open Fire comes recommended to those who approach their rock music with an open mind.