Room 24 are a three-piece alternative rock band from hailing from Austin, Texas. They have been voted among the Top Ten Best U18 Bands in the Austin Chronicle’s Austin Music Awards poll for the past 2 years and won the 7th annual Jam Fest 2014. The bands consists of guitarist/vocalist Andy Cooper, bassist James Caton and drummer/vocalist Michael Cooper.
They cite their main influences as Incubus, Deftones and Foo Fighters, but consider their music is best described as “melodic alternative rock”. They have similarities to the 80’s rock band Husker Du, in that they are a 3-piece and both the drummer and guitarist share lead vocal duties. This EP, Closer To Reality, was produced and engineered by the noted producer Tim Gerron, due for release on September 26, 2015.
Consisting of four tracks, it gets off to a strong start with opening song Gravity and Reality. It’s driven along by a pulsing lead guitar riff, thick low-end chords and a complex, syncopated drum pattern over which Michael Cooper delivers a powerful performance in the upper part of his range. The bridge has a see-saw riff that brought to mind Nirvana’s classic Scentless Apprentice. The chorus is anthemic, though with opaque lyrics: “Where would you go? How would you know?“. There is a short section in 7/8 time after the second chorus, which shows the influence of bands like Tool and breaks up the rhythm effectively.
Second track Out There has a similar drum beat, though the guitar riffs are more rock than metal on this one, bringing to mind Foo Fighters. As with the first track, the band display an excellent understanding of dynamics and rhythmic control, which keeps the music gripping throughout. Room 24 do not write obvious choruses that get old after a couple of listens, but seduce the listener gradually with deceptively addictive vocal and instrumental melodies. This is the case here, with the outro featuring some effective backing vocals.
Third track Clone begins with an eerie, haunting guitar figure drenched in delay, a precursor to the brooding verse with Michael Cooper singing in a lower range. It has one of the most immediate vocal hooks on the EP, which latches in your head straight away: “There is no need for another clone, though it’s just unknown…”. It has another interesting instrumental section after the second chorus and this quietly epic song makes a case for maybe even being the lead track from the EP.
Fourth and final track Parade again features a brooding, minor key lead guitar figure though this song is set at a faster tempo, however. Guitarist Andy Cooper takes lead vocals on this one, and does a fine job. It builds from a quiet verse to perhaps the biggest, most anthemic chorus of the four here and the dynamic created from a low to high vocal melody is also effective. Unexpectedly, for modern alternative rock, it breaks into a highly enjoyable wah-wah drenched lead guitar solo that shows their rock/metal influences.
Overall, this is a very well written, performed and produced EP that displays a musical maturity above and beyond what you’d expect for a band their age. They have transcended their influences and landed on their own style, taking the aspects of rock/metal that they love and melding them with the songwriting style of Alt. Rock. A consistently excellent EP.
Verdict: 8.7 out of 10