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Room - Pre-Flight CD (album) cover

PRE-FLIGHT

Room

 

Heavy Prog

3.37 | 18 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars This is a moderately decent album from the short-lived Room (aka The Room aka The Way), released during those pivotal days after the Summer of Love and Woodstock but before rock music had become completely dominated by slick, commercially-minded types. The band was from some rural area of Britain (Blandford Forum) and the music was mostly blues-based with the occasional foray just inside the lines of heavy progressive rock and even a little modern jazz.

The band Affinity comes to mind immediately when listening to these guys, and maybe Babe Ruth a little as well. All three groups had female lead singers, although Room’s Jane Kevern’s rather sharp alto is much closer to Babe Ruth’s Juanita Hahn than Affinity’s Linda Hoyle. The song arrangements fit her singing style quite well, but I can’t imagine she had the range or depth to have been very successful outside this group like Hoyle was, not does she dominate the music in quite the way Hahn did with Babe Ruth.

Several tracks here (“Pre-Flight”, “No Warmth in my Life”) have that same sort of slightly jazzy groove that made Affinity so appealing, but without the keyboards and with a very heavy reliance on twin guitars (one bluesy lead and the other a sort of tame rock rhythm). Throw in some catchy but mostly unimpressive bass and drums and you’ve got the whole package. The rest are mostly straightforward blues rock, including “Where Did I Go Wrong”, “Big John Blues” and the funky, hard-driving “War”.

I suspect the only thing that earned these guys a ‘prog rock’ label are the slightly psych and shifting “Andromeda”, and the ambitious two-part mini-epic “Cemetery Junction” with its violin-inspired guitar work and various sound effects including brass, strings and some sort of heavy bells. In the end though this one also falls back on traditional blues rock patterns, albeit pretty heavy ones at times.

I’m not overly impressed with this album. I read several reviews that seemed to suggest this was a lost classic ‘finally reissued’ on CD for all to rediscover and enjoy. We progressive rock fans live for albums like that. this isn’t one of them, but it is decent and holds up over time a little better than many of the other one-shot and forgot bands of the same era. Three stars mostly for “Andromeda” and the opening track, and only mildly recommended.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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