Thursday, 10 June 2010

More of what others say...


‘An interesting, laudable but rather joyless set… There’s not an ounce of fun in their music, and precious little enjoyment. They’re not helped by vocalist Jane Kevern, with her sombre voice and ‘God Of War’-type lyrics. Room have clearly put a lot of thought into this album, and they make interesting use of a string and brass section, but really it’s not an album that I want to play again’ – Melody Maker, 26/12/70


To a first-time listener this might sound like a vindication of everything rude that’s ever been said about progressive rock: songs in different parts, dense arrangements, unexpected time changes, heavy orchestrations, unorthodox female vocals… but it’s absolutely worth persisting with. The musicianship is stupendous, with some of the most dextrous drumming and howling guitar on any such record, and the best of the songs are right up there with the best in the genre. The epic title track, which opens the album, has some truly staggering interplay, ‘Andromeda’ and ‘War’ are ambitious and exciting, and the closing ‘Cemetery Junction’ builds to a magnificent climax. Few bands managed to sound so heavy alongside an orchestra, and the lack of keyboards makes this an unusual entry in the prog pantheon. The only weaker moments come with the bluesy ‘Where Did I Go Wrong?’ and jazzy ‘Big John Blues’, which the band apparently didn’t want on the album anyway. Frustratingly, their signature piece, ‘Vehicle’, was apparently recorded at the session but never released, and remains lost to this day. Room were from Blandford in Dorset, and got a recording contract after coming second in Melody Maker’s 1969 talent contest (the winners were Ginhouse). (RMJ)