The Room

Pre Flight

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With a moniker like that, it's hard not to be cruel -- Room for improvement springs immediately to mind, or how about this Room is in need of remodeling. But to be kind, the Room weren't around long enough for the fixers to move in, releasing one ultra-rare record on the Deram label before fading back into the woodwork. They were very much the sum of their influences; unfortunately those influences were such a mixed bag that the quintet often times sounded like they're pulling in a minimum of three directions at once. "No Warmth in My Life" epitomizes this problem, which features wonderful jazzy brass solos, hard rock guitar riffs, acoustic guitar passages, and warbling female vocals, and absolutely nothing to tie it all together. "Big John Blues" suggests they want to be the Keith Tippett Group, and the guest brass are certainly up to the challenge, but Steve Edge, the band's overly flashy lead guitarist, keeps getting in the way, muscling in like a toddler desperate to get your attention. The title track is even more muddled, a drum tattoo and tedious a cappella vocals open the number, a searing guitar kicks in, the piece slides briefly into jazz, before the group settle into something remotely folky. But that's nothing compared to the extravaganzas on the record's flipside, where the band give full flight to their fancies. They almost pull it off on "Andromeda," helped by a string section, a tight arrangement, and a musical theme. Unfortunately, they just don't have the skills of King Crimson, who they're so obviously aping. "War" is meant to be meaningful, but is just laughable, marching into discordance and showcasing the musician's modest talents at their worst. Which makes "Cemetery Junction" sound respectable, helped again by sweeping strings, brass, and a well conceived arrangement. Sign the guests, dump the band, and bring in the wrecking ball.

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