The Dining Rooms


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The Dining Rooms, a two-piece Italian production unit, construct set pieces of downbeat melancholia that often possess more mood and texture than intelligence or energy. On Tre, the pair's third record (natch), a few excellent moments are dragged down by far too much aimless meandering. Smart move, then, putting the best track at the beginning: "Tunnel" features a Vince Guaraldi piano line fluttering away in the background and vocalist Sean Martin crooning with an abstract dreaminess while the production swells with strings and a slowly crashing drum section. The rest of the album encompasses half-baked stylistic exercises ("Cinemaroma 3," "Flamenco Sketches," "African Loungesters") and vocal tracks on which vocalist Anna Clementi awkwardly tries on hats belonging to Shirley Bassey and Lamb's Louise Rhodes. At its best, Tre succeeds at floating a similar sense of elegance to that of the genres and time periods it evokes (Roma 1964, Rio 1968, Paris 1969), but at its worst, the album calls to mind the early days of sampling, when elements that obviously didn't fit together were artlessly ramrodded into place anyway.

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