Liverpool-based early 80's band the Room featured Dave Jackson and Becky Stringer, both of whom would go on to form the much-acclaimed Benny Profane. Their two full-length LPs, 'Indoor Fireworks' and 'In Evil Hour' have recently been released with extra tracks on CD.


'Indoor Fireworks' (1982)

'Indoor Fireworks' was originally released in August 1982 and follows on from a cassette only album, which isn't getting a reissue and remains litle heard.

I was never really into this album when I originally bought it in the mid 80's. It was the hardest of all their vinyl albums to find at the time. When I first heard it, I thought that it reminded me of the Fall,with whom they had played when it was first released.

At the time the Room featured Dave on vocals, Becky on bass and Clive Thomas on drums and Robyn Odlum on guitar.

The album opens with 'No Dream', which has "Our Becky" as I have always known her playing doomy bass. Trippy guitars hang over the top of this, and the drum is again dark. As it moves on, it becomes increasingly more atmospheric. Dave Jackson's vocal is very clean in style and it suits the backing music.

'Escalator' is more funky with a fast cutting and edgy new wave beat. Dave's vocal meanwhile in contrast is very loud. 'Rewind' starts sounding like the Cure during their moody 'Faith' era, an album which had come out at about the same as 'Indoor Fireworks', but soon develops some jangly guitar.

'Chatshow' is a cowboy punk number and sounds like an experimental the Fall. 'This Party Stinks' has a sci fi groove, and, while it is a short track, the guitar work is haunting.

'Heat Haze' has an early Bauhaus groove, and, at least until Dave puts his vocals over the top, sounds Gothic. 'Conversation' again recalls 'Faith', but has a fast, snappy vocal.

'Things that Have Learnt to Walk that Ought to Crawl' was a single and is one of the more commercial songs on 'Indoor Fireworks'. It is a foot tapper from the start, with some ching, ching guitar of the type that Echo and the Bunnymen used to use in their early days.

'Candle' has jangling guitars and spoken word style vocals from David. It also features keyboards for the first time. 'Bated Breath' and 'In Sickness and In Health' both again recall early the Cure. The latter has a very commanding vocal and was also a single.

'Dream of Flying' is the first of the bonus tracks and was the B side of 'Things That Ought to Crawl...' . It recollects the Cure's '100 Years' and has a storming vocal. 'The Whole World Sings' was the flip side of 'One Hundred Years', another Room single, and is poppy in tone, while 'Waiting' was the B side of 'Motion', their first 7 inch, and is raw and much more experimental.

The rest of the album consists of 'Conversation', 'Escalator', 'Heat Haze', 'This Party Stinks', 'Fever' and 'In Sickness and In Health' recorded at a concert at Vancouver in July 81. It sounds like a mixing desk recording and has a much rawer sound.


'In Evil Hour'(1984)

'In Evil Hour' was released in November 1984 after a mini album 'Clear!', that came out in November 1983 and which is included on this reissue in the extra tracks.

'By this time the band had a new line up. The main core of Dave and Becky remained, but this time they were joined by Peter Baker (piano, keyboards and organ), Paul Cavanagh (guitar) and Alun Wills (drums). Paul has since played in It's Immaterial and Gloss, the latter of whom at the tail end of the 1990's were on Nude Records. Alun had previously played in the Wild Swans and is now the boss at Deltasonic Records, home to the Basement and the Dead 60's.

'In Evil Hour' is my favourite of the Room albums. It is very slick and was produced by John Porter, for me the best producer of the 80's, who also produced the Smiths debut album and worked with Tom Verlaine.

'A Shirt of Fire' opens the LP and has Dave Jackson singing his heart out for all thats it's worth. It is full of joyfulness. Everything about it is fully formed, a perfect mix with all the instruments melting into each other.

'Whirlpool' features powerful keyboards and recollects the early Orange Juice. It doesn't, however, sound retro and is totally timeless.

'Naive' features a sexy bass and keyboards and the guitars melt into Dave's vocal. 'Crying Red' in contrast sounds like a sad drinking song.

'The Friendly Fire' is exactly as it title suggests full of fire and has a intro based around Becky's bass lines. 'New Dreams for Old' was a stand out single and is to my ears is a classic, jangy, hands-in-the-air piece to rejoice too and with perfect lyrics.

'Calloused Hands' was recorded with Tom Verlaine on guitar and has an indie feel, while 'Half Forgotten thing' is a moody piece, very sad, a tale of reflection.

'Jackpot Jack', again a single, features Tom on backing vocals and has a live jazzy feel and great progression. The music shows how Dave and Becky would move on and progress more in Benny Profane.

The bonus tracks includes 'My Evil Hour', which has never been released before and which, which while sounding dated now, sounds like a more poppy Cure during their 'A Forest' and 'Run Like A Bastard', another unreleased track, which is organ heavy and once more points towards Benny Profane. There is also a 7" mix version of 'New Dreams for Old', which includes a lovely trumpet solo.

The 'Clear!' LP features the same line up as 'In Evil Hour'. 'Ringing' is poppy with guitar work that sounds quite refreshing now. 'Numb' is a jazzy affair with Dave doing his best Sinatra style vocals.

'The Ride' again sounds like early 80's the Cure. 'Never' has a very dancey groove and another Sinatra style vocal, while 'Sleep Tight' features deep bass work from Becky and strangely recalls 'Everything She Does is Magic' by the Police.

'On the Beach' recalls the Specials 'Ghost Town' and has both a dubby base and jangly guitars.











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