Since resolving to spend the winter of 2006/07 in the studio working exclusively on new material, Musicroom have come up with an abundance of ideas and over the past year have sifted out the gems, developed and road-tested them before hitting record. The end result is 1000 Things, the band’s debut EP, a record which showcases this emerging Jersey band as a songwriting team, yet captures the energy and spirit of their live performances.
Roaring in with a thumping tom-tom rhythm, opener The Gap charges along with a punchy guitar and keyboard riff. Rock ballad Make Amends follows, before The Circle’s arresting guitar motif and simple but memorable melody. Finally, the title track returns to an up-tempo swing, closing the record with intricate piano and searing guitar lead.
The four well-written tracks are diverse in their scope, as befits a band whose members bring to the table hugely different backgrounds and influences. Founder member Simon Larbalestier found success in Jersey and beyond with progressive and electronic bands like Heaven Can Wait, Pressure Point and Pagan Daughters in the 80s and 90s. Simon now handles both keyboard and bass duties with aplomb, linking well with the powerhouse drumming of Craig Armstrong, who draws inspiration from everywhere from metal to jazz and fusion. Up front, Matt McManus’s raw, bluesy Gibson guitar proves the perfect foil for Lesina Davies, the band’s Samoan diva, whose voice carries over riffs and frantic beats alike while retaining its darkly soulful centre.
This line-up has now been settled for long enough to really gel as a live band. Musicroom love to play live and will follow a busy 2007 which saw well-received sets at Gorey Fete, Battle of Flowers, Live Lounge (to name but a few) with more of the same in 2008. The band’s live show is thoroughly compelling and well worth witnessing; all four members attack the songs with passion and feed off each others’ play, bringing the mix of originals and eclectic covers alive on stage.
Since coming into being in 2002 as a vehicle for Simon’s own material, Musicroom has evolved through various guises including a spell playing almost exclusively covers. However, with its best ever line-up and a renewed commitment to new material, this Jersey band is ready to step up to the next level in 2008. 1000 Things represents the first fruits of this, but there is more to come. Behind the scenes, new tracks (Honey Honey, Cessez, Long Way) continue to emerge and seem destined to appear on the Musicroom setlist this summer, and the band are already talking about EP number 2.
Musicroom headline their own show at Blue Note Bar, St Helier on Saturday 5th July.
Where: Blue Note