Sometimes modern bands can forget the lineage of Progressive Rock – if we go back in time to the seventies and early eighties, it was an experimental style of music that often incorporated twinges of Psychedelia, Pop and Rock whilst still allowing for extensive sonic exploration with elements of Blues, Folk, and Jazz along with constructs such as longer song formats.
On their latest offering, Caught By The Machine (White Star Records), The Room take us back to back to that golden era of Prog Rock while adding contemporary sensibilities and production, as well as touches reminiscent of modern artists like Porcupine Tree and Anathema with long, but cohesive, song structures and female vocals.
There can be a tendency in progressive music to go off on musical tangents which don’t serve a purpose except only to show off the musical proficiency of its composers. Every song on Caught By The Machine has a powerful hook which pulls the listener right in and makes it accessible to everyone who listens to it, and there isn’t a moment where the musicians in the band seek to show off their musical proficiency in the form of a virtuoso-centric instrumental section: everything is written to serve the song. With the lyrics constructing a story within each song, the music works as a narrative tool to paint an emotion to work in conjunction with the lyrics.
Despite the majority of the songs running well past the five minute mark, the songs don’t feel overly long, and tracks like ‘Clover’, ‘Drowning In Sound’ and ‘Vanished’ show us how it’s properly done with the sonic trademarks of Rush, Journey, and Kansas making appearances in the form of classic synthesizers, blues-Rock inspired guitar riffs and solos and narrative structures.
Caught By The Machine is just a downright fun and incredibly enjoyable listen. It’s an album the listener can just lose themselves in with throwbacks to golden eras of Progressive Rock and refreshing modern takes on classic ideas: sometimes the old days can be the best days. You’ll be caught by The Room’s machine and you won’t want to leave.
8 / 10