EP Review – Roomtones by Roomtones (2022) (Self released)
Proper frontman are a rare breed. Especially in an increasingly digital age, where acts can get famous just because a spotty lad called Herbert, dwelling is some bedroom in Nerdsville USA, has found a way around the Spotify algorithms and got his playlist eleventy squillion hits from equally nerdy types, whose only knowledge of a gig is something to do with memory and ‘pootas.
However, music still needs frontmen (or women, before I get blasted through cyberspace on a tsunami of fembianistic rage) as that helps to give music ‘another’ allure. Whoever the lead singer of The Roomates is (their instagram page gives little away) this fella has that special quality that resonates in his voice, that just makes you gravitate towards it. The epitome of cool.
With the slight croon of Phil Sutton (Pale Lights) married to the overt deliberation of Carl Mann (The Shop Window), all juxtaposed with that American accent intonation that makes everthing sound so gloriously precocious, you just know this fella would rock the shit out of you live.
Thankfully for jangle-pop / jangly power-pop fans, The Roomtones‘ debut EP elects to engulf this voice in ‘our riffs’, rather than drift off into the muscularity of an indie-rock genre that could also acomodate his vocals.
As such Down Along The Line initiates the EP with a crytsalline jangled riff, before intermittently crashing into the best of the modern day power-pop sounds (think Young Guv with less fuzz and distraction) that are currently a usurping whole host of middle-aged, 80s sounding acts from every angle. It’s an introductory track that promise so much and thankfully, this is delivered.
Drawing A Blank is undoubtedly the stand out of the release. With jangled riffs that flutter like a bag of released butterflies at a Trembling Blue Stars gig and the lead vocals ramping up the croon to almost suave levels, this is a sound that will probably never make Herbert’s playlist, but it should begin to be featured by all the micro-blogs that really matter.
Of course such levels of melodic pretty cannot be maintained throughout, without the listener reaching for the insulin. As such the sacharinne is diluted with a Forever Almost closer that wraps crunchy, 80s style guitar lines, around and all over tiny jangled melodies and chunky basslines. It is an 80s power-pop energy, but one that feel more easily stomached than most that is currently on offer.
I am not sure if this is the start of a more concerted set of releases from this act or not. It almost feel so accomplished that it could easily be one of those supergroup type side-projects that muso-mates do in their free time? Either way, this is a superb release, even if it does end up being a stand-alone one.