Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this review, I’m going to be delving into ‘Closer To Reality,’ the latest four track EP from Room 24, a rising alternative rock outfit hailing from Austin, Texas. The trio describes their sound as ‘melodic alternative rock,’ heavily inspired by the likes of the Foo Fighters and Incubus. Needless to say, they’re endeavoring to enter a genre that’s inundated with independent musicians and copycat acts. How does the band stack up with their new EP? Let’s find out.
‘Closer To Reality’ is debuting later this month, so I was fortunate to get my hands on the high quality studio master files. Immediately, I queued up the four .wav files at my studio. Listening to this EP on a professional, high quality setup made all of the difference for me. This music is well executed, and particularly well recorded. It begs for attention on a good sound system. So, crank out the best you got for this ride. How are the songs, though?
Let’s talk about ‘Gravity And Reality,’ the opening of the EP. The dynamic of the band is intriguing: guitarist and vocalist Andy Cooper and drummer and vocalist Michael Cooper share a good deal of the lofty weight of music creation. They each sing lead on several songs and they’ve both penned songs for the group as well. The brothers certainly have some sonic chemistry alongside their bassist, James Caton. ‘Gravity And Reality’ is a reverb-soaked romp through alternative musings and deafening rock and roll. The atmospheric, questioning lyrics are compellingly well sung, too. It’s a powerful opener.
‘Out There’ is a bit of a sonic contrast to ‘Gravity And Reality.’ It seems to embrace the band’s ‘melodic alternative rock’ mantra quite well. I found the guitar licks consistently interesting - in fact, the guitar play is the highlight of the song. Vocally, the song is nailed and well written. The band elegantly juggles melodic catchiness with hard hitting rock and roll.
The softer ‘Clone’ may be my favorite tune of the record. The percussion is absolutely excellent, and the brevity of the tune is refreshing. It’s softer, reserved, and beautiful. I’d actually argue it’s highlight of the collection, defining Room 24 as a potentially excellent alt rock group. The finale, ‘Parade,’ isn’t quite as memorable, but it’s a solid effort with modestly entertaining sonic intricacies - especially toward the end. (Goodness, that solo and build up is incredible.)
‘Closer To Reality’ is a bold statement, one that isn’t fully realized, but very, very good nonetheless. There isn’t enough contrast between soundscapes: they’re each good, but resemble each other in one too many ways. That said, ‘Clone’ is a remarkable reprieve from that formula. The other three songs are solid, though. I’d love to see the band experiment a bit further - ‘Clone’ does that, and the latter half of ‘Parade’ does as well.
Thus, Room 24 is an outfit worth keeping tabs on. This is a promising beginning to a potentially long and fruitful musical journey.