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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Room - Pre-Flight (1970 uk, well-structured and punctuated prog rock with interesting time changes and skillful use of wind and string instruments, 2008 remaster)

Room were from Dorset, recorded an album for Decca in the early 1970s and then disappeared from the scene again. "Pre-Flight", the group's only LP, is very rare on vinyl and was re-released on CD by Esoteric Recordings some time ago.

The basis of Room's music is a complex blues rock, which is determined by the intricate interplay of the two electric guitars. Then there is Jane Kevern's characteristic singing, which covers all kinds of expressions between subtle, almost ethereal sighs and powerful roars. The band initially didn't have a keyboard player (one apparently only joined the group after the release of "Pre-Flight"). In the studio, however, various strings and wind instruments take on the sound-filling tasks. The result is a high-quality, quite typical protoprog of the time, which sometimes falls into distinctly jazzy-rock territory.

Protoprog with female vocals wasn't all that rare in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other bands in this small subgenre included Delivery, Julian's Treatment, Catapilla, Affinity, Fusion Orchestra or the band of Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger, and Room's music fits in quite well with that. Jazz, blues and a few classical ingredients are mixed together on "Pre-Flight" to form an interesting whole, rounded off by successful string and brass sections and short solo contributions by these guest musicians, which flows from the speakers in a relaxed to powerfully angular way. Only the pretty "normal", somewhat ordinary blues rockers "Where Did I Go Wrong?" and "Big John Blues" don't quite fit into the progressive picture. What makes up for this is the long title track and the closing "Cemetery Junction" (but the three remaining, slightly shorter pieces are not bad either), which are a very successful, very unique jazzy-proto-progressive mixture of more complex rock and elaborate, but never intrusive Wind and string interludes form.

Anyone who appreciates the music of the British bands mentioned above and generally proto-progressive music with female vocals has come to the right place! Great cover!
by Achim Breiling 

1. Preflight (Steve Edge) - 8:56
2. Where Did I Go Wrong (Chris Williams, Roy Putt, Jane Kevern, Steve Edge, Bob Jenkins) - 5:27
3. No Warmth In My Life (Chris Williams, Jane Kevern) - 4:34
4. Big John Blues (Chris Williams) - 2:33
5. Andromeda (Chris Williams, Roy Putt, Jane Kevern) - 5:07
6. War (Chris Williams) - 4:33
7. Cemetery Junction (Chris Williams, Jane Kevern) - 8:32

*Steve Edge - Lead, Rhythm Guitar
*Chris Williams - Lead Guitars
*Bob Jenkins - Drums, Congas, Percussion
*Jane Kevern - Vocals, Tambourine
*Roy Putt - Bass

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