Forged in the heyday of postpunk, The Room, formed by Dave Jackson and Becky Stringer, recorded four sessions for John Peel, appeared on Whistle Test and worked with Television’s Tom Verlaine. But like most bands they split and went off to different projects. But now Dave and Becky are back together and now joined by guitarist Darren Brown, keyboardist Ethan Kyme and drummer Tom McCabe.
‘Crying Face’ is the new single taken from the album Restless Face, premiered here at Joyzine, and it’s a sparse track where the taut arrangement serves to polarise everything around the vocals which catalogue all the frustrations and foibles of living in a fake-news world where social media dominates and keyboard warriors stir the shit in the comments section. Dave Jackson says:
“Crying Face concerns that pesky phenomenon – the social media troll. A drunken Travis Bickle of the inter-web, whose inability to socialise without getting in a temper tantrum has reduced him to scrolling through others’ accounts to leave inflammatory comments under assumed names. He might be glowering into his computer screen at something you’ve posted, right now, vein pulsing in a furrowed brow,” and “this new video is a tribute to Facebook trolls. Usually with an over exaggerated opinion of themselves. Whipping up the audience like the angry villagers with their burning torches and pitchforks when in reality the monster is their own reflection.“
The production favours sharp edges and the guitar and vocals lead the charge with scalpel sharp riffs and paper cut lyrics. Keyboards by Ethan Kyme, punch through with organ ticks and shrieks and the drums and bass by Tom McCabe and Becky Stringer form a super-tight indie rhythm section keeping everything driving along like caffeine does on a long drive. The Room may have sprung from the time of Josef K, The Fall and Magazine but they fit right in with bands like Home Counties and The Cool Greenhouse. The mix of the tuneful with the dissonant, the coolly delivered lyrics and the impeccable production makes this a stand out track.
The video was put together by Mark Jordan and it does an excellent job of using archive footage to illustrate the cutting lyrics (you can’t go wrong with a drumming monkey and Vincent Price’s Witchfinder General wig).
The Room are:
Dave Jackson – vocals
Becky Stringer -bass
Darren Brown – guitar
Ethan Kyme – keyboards
Tom McCabe – drums
Recorded at Ark Studios, Liverpool
Recorded and mixed by Steve Powell
Produced by Steve Powell and The Room
Review by Paul F Cook