Dark Room Notes

We Love You Dark Matter

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Like too many electro-pop bands, Dark Room Notes is an ensemble with a fantastic sound and an unfortunate dearth of compelling hooks. Make no mistake, a great sound is important, and these guys have it: guitars and synths more or less equally balanced, keyboard sounds that focus on the squelchy, the cheesy, and the generally out-of-date, and beats that never fail to hit the mark. But a great sound is not enough; a band's great sound needs to serve great songs, and these are good at best, and OK most of the time. The third track on the album, "The Same City Awaits Me," is the first to really hit: instrumentally spare during the verse, it then gently explodes during the chorus and although there isn't anything in that chorus that will make you want to sing along, you'll be happy every time it comes around. By "Fast Flashes/Who Is Isabella Moonlight?," however, the faux intensity of the stage-whispered vocals has begun to wear thin, and by "Broken Nail," you start coming to the uncomfortable conclusion that you've pretty much heard everything the band is capable of doing and aren't that interested in hearing too much more of it (though "This Hot Heat" brings a nicely thumping house element into the mix). Dark Room Notes are tantalizingly close to being a great band, but it's going to take more attention to the verities to put them over the edge.

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