Room 1985 – Room 1985 – Album Review
What a couple of trippers! Any artist or band that lists Com Truise in the ‘artists we also like’ section of their social media pages damn near always gets a thumbs-up from me. Seriously – that’s rare. Those of us who spend our time listening to music all day long know that’s an indication of something wild to come…you combine that with nods to bands like The Mars Volta, Depeche Mode, Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd…again, this ain’t my first rodeo – I have an idea of what’s to come, which is to expect the unexpected. They reference other bands that make sense as well…Room 1985 knows their sound really well…like they’ve even listed Mike Oldfield…which is like…honestly so oddly insightful it’s kinda shocking…there are lots of similarities to his music within the textures and tones, ideas and imagination that roams freely through Room 1985’s artistic & progressive mix of psychedelic fusion.
For a duo – it’s pure madness that they can create something this awesome. If it was created by a ‘full band,’ I’d pretty much feel the same way…that should tell ya something right there. Room 1985 has a master’s grip on their style, intentions, and ambitions of their music. Need proof? Take a listen to ANY track off their self-titled record and just push play…your ears won’t deceive you, they know what’s awesome – and that’s exactly what this is; doesn’t matter which track you stab the play button for, you seriously can’t lose if you’re looking for something truly innovative and wildly creative in sound.
Opening the record with a Depeche Mode sound to the music and even smoother sound in the vocals, the bounce and pulse of “This Is The Way” immediately invites you into the record and opens the mind for what’s to follow. Once they add in those amazing Cure-esque guitar tones and the vocal samples, I’m pretty much beyond hooked. The transition into the song’s expressive chorus just prior to the 1:45 mark take the vocals into ambitious territory…that’s gonna work for some, maybe not for others. The freedom of expression and artistic license are fully taken advantage of and explored in Room 1985’s music…and of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some parts will sound natural, other times these two trippers will try to take you down the rabbit hole with them…I’m game if you are! What WILL work indisputably is that incredibly killer guitar solo afterwards, and the way the song continues to develop, finding yet another set of verifiable hooks around the 3:15 mark that set the whole party off again. Listen to the electro elements that are making that part work…notice the amount of fluidity in the transitions between parts and how clever these two get. “This Is The Way” instantly reaches out to the ears in noticeably creative and completely different ways than so much of what is happening out there in music…there is more than enough space out there for a band like Room 1985 right now.
“Day After Day” quickly confirms the intense amount of awesomeness in this band. Seriously, it’s like four songs worth of awesome in one here…Room 1985 has an incredible way of spreading out their sound in so many directions in immaculately seamless transitions. Their use of samples and vocals sunken deep into their sonic textures makes for an honestly incredible listening experience – every time you listen to these songs on this record, I can guarantee you’ll hear something new. And I’ll stand by that comment, even if you repeat this record daily for the next ten years straight…which actually kind of sounds like something I could somehow live with and be quite content that I made the right call. Kind of reminds me a bit of This Will Destroy You! but with like, a bit more melody in mind. You’re unlikely to catch every word of what’s being said…but what breaks through is highly interesting each time you listen. The early singing spirals the song further into the madness…my favorite moment of “Day After Day” came shortly afterwards, when the smoothness kicked back in along with the vocal samples and pre-electro breakdown. Though the guitar solo on “Day After Day” could give that moment a run for its money – it’s one of the best you’ll find from Chris on this record. The keys are essential, the low-end synth filling in the atmosphere is just as crucial…the drumbeats punish and flare with intensity as the song carries on, rising to a clever plateau in “Day After Day” that takes this tune brilliantly to its end.
Now…I’m not usually one for ‘band anthems’ – but then, not many bands out there sound like these guys do. The song “Room 1985” has some of the PHATTEST synth bass sound you’ll hear in your LIFE. Once it calms itself down into the mix, “Room 1985” breaks into a more serene & chilled-out sound that has those Mike Oldfield inclinations for sonic depth, but with a real update to the overall experience. It’s the bass-lines that grabbed my attention the most on “Room 1985” throughout its first half…I dig the vocals, I dig the subtle beat…it’s ALL good, but those ideas in the bass, synth-bass, whatever it is…they’re exquisite to the ears. The ONLY thing I’ve pretty much come up with in my repeat listens to this record that might even benefit Room 1985 as a band for advice would just be to say, remember to consider the people out there! And all I really mean by that, is that they start off this record with what is arguably their three most demanding tunes to listen to…also the album’s longest songs. There’s certainly no harm in how they’ve got it laid out – people like myself are going to get right into this without hesitation; but if they want to snag the rest of the people out there with the insane amount of crossover appeal they’ll flex later on in the record…might not be a bad idea to keep a couple shorter tunes up front when it comes time for the next album to give the average listener a chance to catch their breath.
The relationship they’ve established in their music between the electro and ‘real’ instruments is absolutely stunning. Take “Future Rain” for example…definitely in the running for one of the record’s biggest highlights – those guitar tones are completely jaw-dropping. Here’s where Room 1985 begins to tighten the corners a little more…they still move mountains of distance within their ideas here, but keep their sonic adventure a bit more under control without losing any of its impact or edge…if anything, it’s enhanced here in a shorter environment. An excellent beat in the programming fuels the energy in the guitars, the low-end synth sounds keep the overall ideas innovative and the transitions flawless as they set themselves to grip & rip to the ebb & flow in the structure of this insanely awesome cut. For those out there that really dig on music that can pretty much bend space & time around you – I’d have to venture a guess that something like “Future Rain” is exactly what you’re looking for out there. The bold melody, the stunning execution, the exceptionally creative ideas that make up the core of “Future Rain” and ALL the songs you’ll find on this record…I mean, it’s all here…what more could you ask for?
Some of the best vocals you’ll find on this record occur through “The Door” – this is just a wild cut altogether…kind of like Minus The Bear somewhat in the clever combination of intricate ideas and the smoothness of the vibe meeting their highly imaginative, colorful, and killer sound. “The Door” gets better and better with each passing second, but when Room 1985 punches into the most vibrant parts of the vocals around the 2:15-ish mark…what else can be said? That’s one of the most perfect and powerful transitions you’ll hear in music this year without a doubt – the hook in that sound and widespread appeal of that magical moment could snag anyone out there successfully. I wasn’t entirely sold on the bright synth melody over-top…it might very well be one ingredient too many, it’s hard to say. Ultimately it certainly doesn’t affect how much I dig this tune…it’s right on the line…I think what they’ve got riding underneath the brightness of that key/synth-line up on top is the heart of this tune.
“He Paints A Picture” continues the self-titled experience on…this album full of ‘and I didn’t think it could get any better until ____ song came on’ – fill in the blank people, with any track you like. I’m not so much shocked that I love “He Paints A Picture” as much as I am shocked that I get to hear creativity like this in one lifetime. No joke, I’m beyond impressed with this band’s entire record…the soaring heights that this song hits in the chorus are a highlight example of the reason why that is. Listen to how well everything fits together and how inventive & complex the ideas are when it comes right down to each individual piece that creates this tune…and then notice just how damn smooth the sound of “He Paints A Picture” really IS. It’s a remarkable amount of contrast between the electro, beats & guitars…yet no matter how wild their ideas become, each element truly complements the song overall. It’s hypnotic, it’s captivating and massively charismatic…I could listen to “He Paints A Picture” happily on repeat all damn day.
You can definitely credit a lot of the synth influence to Depeche Mode for sure, but you also gotta recognize those Robert Smith inspired post-punk guitar tones that fill the air on a track like “Something.” Same era of course…we could get into the whole ‘include Joy Division and The Smiths’ etc. etc. – but I like to believe that the influence you hear in Room 1985’s music is actually used in extremely clever ways. In my opinion…the best music out there that we can usually find for ourselves personally, the stuff that instantly connects to you, it ends up being a combination of two important things:
- To begin with, it’s gotta kinda remind you of something you already love.
- It has to take that sound you love and expand it in a new direction that takes it to the next level.
Long story short, I hear a lot of these two elements in this record. Room 1985 is CRUSHING IT. There’s a solid chance that “Something” was my favorite on this album full of incredible tunes – Chris is pretty much everything I want to listen to when it comes to guitars…the inventive way that these two use vocal samples in their music is equally impressive. “Something” incorporates both of these elements in spades, really mixing it up with different vocals throughout the song…poetic stuff of sorts quite often. When they break-way, the guitar tones come soaring and searing in perfectly each time. Chris could write a book with just a list details from his guitar-pedal settings written out between the margins and I’d probably read it like it was the most entertaining and informing thing I’ve ever read. Back to the point and moral of the story – “Something” is completely gripping and a serious highlight on this record.
I can’t argue that “For You” is going to end up on the radio any time soon – but that’s only because there’s about two radio-stations out there cool enough to play a song like this. Room 1985 don’t dwell on creating traditional straight-ahead hooks of any kind really…that’s just a known fact by this point of the record. But I’d charge that, rather than create something easy to digest – which they’d clearly be able to create in a heartbeat – they’ve instead chosen to write tunes that are more or less designed to fascinate…to truly be experienced and not just listened to. “For You” is undeniably one of the meatier tunes to absorb on this record and might not fight for your attention as clearly as some of the others surrounding it…but let’s also be entirely clear here – there’s not a dead-spot on this whole record.
With a thunderous intro, the final cut “Quote” begins to bring it home. I love the way these guys use vocals…whether that’s sampled & edited or live in the booth, whatever they’re doing, it completely works for me. The PLACEMENT in the mix is like an audiophile’s dream…every time you hear them involved, save for “Ecstasy” where there’s a clear guest-star on the mic and she’s more featured up-front, they make sure the music is so continuously compelling to listen to that each time we get even a snippet of vocals singing or talking, it’s like the audible cherry on top of an all-awesome sundae. The electro & synth sounds drive this beat smoothly to the end, guided by voices along the way…”Quote” might not be quite as wild as some of the other tracks have been, but there’s something to be said for ending the record on a tightly controlled and ultra-chill groove like they’ve got going on here. The dynamics that exist between the low-end synth-bass sounds and the bright guitar tones that come to scorch the final moments are sonic perfection – what else could we possibly ask from these two? THEY ARE CLEARLY NOT EVEN HUMAN. Honestly – do two people make music this badass? These guys have got an absolutely killer album here with their self-titled debut; it’s as inventive & exploratory as music can be, wildly complex yet incredibly smooth…with creativity off the charts, undeniable skills and talent that lead to insanely cool vibes…c’mon people – do the right thing and get yourselves into Room 1985.
Find out more about Room 1985 at their official website at: https://www.room1985.com/