The of trio of Sam Stone (Vocals, bass guitar), Chris Crysand (Guitars, synths and backing vocals) and John Hulse (drums, electronic drums and percussion), better known as Room 1985, release their sophomore album “The Bliss”. The 8 track concept album, to be officially released on the 10th of August, is based on the addiction to social media and the impact this has on a couple living together. They ignore each other in real life while claiming to be happy in the virtual world. The story takes a stark turn as aliens invade Earth, conquering the planet and changing the whole basis of human society using social media to view individual worth, rather than people’s actual characteristics and personality.
The Manchester-based Prog-Rock and Metal, meet Electronic and Synthwave, post-rockers, started out as a duo with their critically acclaimed self-titled album in 2017, before the new addition of Australian born singer and bass player, Sam Stone. The extra dynamic makes this another classic and unforgettable album from start to finish.
I love this band, from their previous stuff to their latest release. Stone’s voice is melodic and technically gifted. He’s also a talented bass player, and a perfect piece of the Room 1985 puzzle. Crysand is a superb on guitars and synths, and Hulse is a powerhouse on drums. Meaning this trio can do no wrong.
This is music for a special type of person, I mean lets be serious, mainstream people just don’t have that special place inside, where a band like Room 1985 could live eternally, all nestled and warm. If you’re that person, this is your album, not a social album, not for a room full of people – but just for you.
It is a dramatic place to be and really encompasses the intense uncertainty that currently surrounds us. Though their self-titled album lifted to startling heights, buffered with an even greater sense of ambition, “The Bliss” truly is devoid of competition.
Audacious synth crusades pulsate through the space-age serenade that is opener, ‘Daylight’. The kind of confrontational pillars of sound, between keys and guitars that is heightened by vivid and refined focus. And it’s this refined focus that makes the track as stunning opener.
Brilliance comes in the form of the title track, ‘The Bliss’ (feat. Emily Oldfield). A typically warped, war-torn bassline, colliding with that ever prog-rock sensibility that Room 1985 exude. Its outward melodic beauty is wrapped around truly sublime playing, with the drumming being every bit as good as the synth, guitar and bass.
Which brings us to the stellar up-tempo, call and response vocals of ‘Attention Seeker’ (feat. MOI SAINT), an audacious and grandiose song. ‘Ishtar’ is where the guitar sentiments of virtuosic muso Chris Crysand, become crystal clear.
Monster, bone-crushing riffs clash with dancing synths and airy spoken word interludes. The undertones of purity, fear and emotion ride alongside the slow melodic beauty of ‘Snowy White’, which features probably the best vocal performance on the album by Sam Stone.
As the ricocheting guitar riffs clamber over each other, fighting for sonic superiority with the keyboards, you feel that the most progressively heavy rock tune on the album – ‘The Arrival’ (feat. Vickie Harley), must surely be the peak of this whole glorious affair. Which perhaps it is.
But ‘The Tentacles Of The Oz’, gives us yet another taste of future rock with the ravaging synths lurching into harmonic elevation. By this time it’s clear that Room 1985 is on a completely different level to anyone currently claiming to be part of this hybrid genre.
As the album closes to the soaring sounds of ‘Awake’, you realize that it isn’t just the masterful musical ability on show, nor even the captivating quality of their songs, it’s Room 1985’s instinctive ambition to take every song beyond its logical path.
This is Room 1985 coming of age, as they burst and resonate across hard-riffing chord progressions, riveting time-signatures and resplendent synth arrangements. It’s absolutely wonderful.