Firefly Music 2014
Being human leaves no space for claustrophobia – only for the close contacts of the dark velvet kind.
Like moth to a flame, this album’s cover is irresistibly beckoning, and the ember glow of the music inside is so warm that it holds one of the most pleasant hours to be spent by the fire. For all its predecessor’s intimate intent, 2012’s "Skin” felt like an insular proposition, but while “Incarnate” offers a similar experience in “Close The Door,” there’s an extravert pop layer on top of slow-burn ruminations. So the folk lace of the record’s title track may usher in the Eastern-flavored tidal wave of orchestral proportions and a seductive slide guitar solo, yet it’s simplicity and sincerity of emotion that, together with organ roll, propel “Start The Sound” into the listener’s heart.
The bass-punctured “Into Temptation” locks into the glacial groove as if to stay cool but, as Anne-Marie Helder strikes acoustic strings, “Nothing New” only stresses the band’s surrender to their core melodic values, although there’s a jazzy piano from Jonathan Edwards and bluesy licks courtesy of Adam O’Sullivan. And if the soulful “All That We Are” is a typical nocturnal ballad, “Searching” is elegantly boiling under the surface before the singer whips up a rustic harmonica solo, whereas “Velocity” proposes a riff-carcassed canvas to which the voice adds impressive strokes – soft and bold. All this underscores the ROOM’s refusal to be scared of their dreams, and the finale “Dust” turns into a dramatic hymn: in this hot context the “ashes to ashes” idiom takes on a life-affirming meaning. Here’s to the embodiment of being born anew.