12 January 2015
James Rooney Band - Try This At Home EP
Second request review of 2015 (after there was one which Luke picked up for us). This time it is from North East based singer James Rooney, who I am most familiar with through his activity with his previous band - Emergency Door Release (who broke up last year). The Warrington born artist took sometimes out after the breakup of his previous band, it has worked to his advantage. So now he is ready to release his first EP which has been recorded in his own home studio; I mention this fact as it has inspired the name of the EP. There is a certain vogue these days for home recordings - this would probably have something to do with the media and hardware being more readily available these days and there are a lot of artists who have made their name through this type of release (Ed Sheeran, Dave McPherson amongst others). Some people would class home recordings as demos, but sometimes that is what the musician/band has envisioned - they want that basic feel which sometimes gives their songs more emotional power, for some it is a case of cutting their cloth to fit their means. But these views are beside the point at this time; it is now time to see how this EP sounds?
Starting off the EP is "Drifted Apart", a song which discusses the end of a relationship and the emotional fall out of the person being left on the side when everything is going towards to the former partner (friends taking sides, personal baggage being left in the open - we've all been there at one point or another). With a simple riff, the tune unfolds with a wistful sound and it has a very subtle charm. "Midnight" is the next track, which has some interesting sections. Starting off straight away with all instruments playing, the song then falls back to just the bass and drums. As the song progresses, it does make a lot more sense and the dream pop chorus is the best hook of the release. It does have a few rough edges, but the song as a whole is well thought out. As the song says 'Rome was not built in a day'. Ending the EP is "Olivia" which has a beautiful drifting guitar opening, the song about an unrequited love for someone who is unfaithful is another dream pop number that floats over the listener. The only problem with this track is the vocal recording does not match the quality of the previous two, this is not in terms of passion or vocal ability but it sounds a little more tin like than the other songs. Again, this is a preference for me and not doubting the passion of the performance.
I think in terms of first releases, this is a very good release. There are a few elements which could be polished up, but it is a very solid effort to build on for further ep's or albums. Apart from one song, it does sidestep the demo feeling and that is another plus point. I am not sure if he was aiming for this, but there are elements of the dream pop/rock scene in here that may be the way forward. He has a good voice, the formation of the songs is good as well; it is not 100% my type of thing, however I would still recommend this to anyone who enjoys dream pop.
3.5 out of 5 - Decent, getting there
Top track - Drifted Apart
Here is a link to the James Rooney Band website, from there you can get to his Facebook page, Soundcloud, etc
Once the EP is on general release, I will update it with links for Soundcloud and Bandcamp for your listening/purchasing pleasure.
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