The Room + The Paradox Twin @ The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton on 14th November 2019


As its very name attests progressive rock should be pushing the boundaries of music and charting new territory so it’s sad when some bands regress to a mythical Golden Age of Prog. No fear tonight as we have two groups who are once again putting a new slant on the genre as evidenced by openers The Paradox Twin. Hailing from Berkshire they build sonic structures that often inhabit that magical place between wake and sleep. ‘Cycles’ in particular has a hypnotic feel and cascades like raindrops which form concentric circles and makes good use of a loud/quiet dynamic with each acting as a foil for the other. ‘Earthbound’ is a track of epic proportions and incorporates many musical shades from sorrowful keys to a pounding brutalism. Playing tracks exclusively from their debut album The Importance of Mr Bedlam ‘Gravity Time Dilation’ has many twists and turns which keep things interesting and proceeds set closer ‘Moonblood’ that juxtaposes a chugging riff with an ethereal solo.

Headliners The Room are a difficult band to pigeonhole so I won’t even try but each individual band member brings something of their musical history to the table and the resulting alchemy has produced something that’s refreshingly original. Music aficionados will know vocalist Martin Wilson and guitarist Steve Anderson from their tenure with Grey Lady Down while bassist Andy Rowe served time in NWOBHM stalwarts Firebird and perhaps because of this lineage opening salvo ’The Golden Ones’ reveals itself to a punchy affair and, maybe it’s just nervous energy but it’s delivered with the effervescence of early Stooges and MC5. With intelligent lyrics and intricate structures ‘Carrie’ and ‘Run’ are fired in quick succession and continue at a lively pace powered by hard hitting drummer Chris York. The band are touring their critically acclaimed third album Caught by the Machine and they deliver ‘Full Circle’ followed by the best song ever written about drugs and werewolves ‘My Friend Jack’. With an undeniable chemistry the band handle the neat time changes on ‘The Hunter’ with ease while guitarist Eric Bouillette delivers some fine slide guitar on ‘Vanished’ that brings to mind Rose Tattoo.

‘Broken’ is a fine slab of upbeat melodic prog with which, perhaps unwittingly, the band wrote the perfect three minute ditty. In a set that’s constantly shifting gears ‘Bodies on the Road’ swirls with a neo psychedelia and that’s neatly coupled with ‘Clover’. For penultimate track, the epic and theatrical ‘Drowning in Sound’, the band are joined by Nicole (from The Paradox Twin) who adds some ethereal vocals and haunting harmonies. By way of a well deserved encore the band take us back to their genesis with ‘ICU’ from their 2012 debut album Open Fire and I can’t think of a better way to end a set

Reviewed by Peter Dennis.

 The Room Set List:

  1. The Golden Ones
  2. Carrie
  3. Run
  4. Full Circle
  5. My Friend Jack
  6. The Hunter
  7. Flesh & Bone
  8. Vanished
  9. Broken
  10. Bodies on the Road
  11. Clover
  12. Drowning in Sound
  13. ICU