Quiet, understated, and yet still somewhat gripping, BOOZE AND PETAL is Room306’s latest effort, and one which sees them move towards a more comfortable musical tone. It’s calmer than some of their previous material but still packs a worthwhile punch.
“DENIAL” opens proceedings, moving along with a background rhythmic backbone of percussion and staccato keyboard notes while the raw vocals come through unobstructed. There’s a palpable groove present when the rhythm guitar enters the fray, and the entire song feels confident with its composition.
There may not be any sort of climax, but one particular bass-filled instrumental section gives off a sense of apprehension amidst the aforementioned assuredness. It’s a smart opener, one which doesn’t necessarily hold memorability, but rather an astute entry point to the album.
“NOISE” has a similar formula, although dials down the groove in favour of a sleek, almost mellow make-up. The percussion is a real highlight, with the slapping melody irrefutably sticky, although at times more engaging than the vocals. Towards the ending portion, there’s a subtle gear shift, but it’s nothing too engaging, nor does it really drive the track to the next level it would benefit from hitting.
With that being said, “PRESERVE” does see the record hit its stride more fluidly, with the echoing piano notes painting a melancholy picture before the sombre, almost mournful vocals reach the mix. Tender and vulnerable, it’s a fantastic cut that balances emotional vehemence with accessibility, all without compromising the flow of the LP.
“LITTLE” continues the momentum, with its skittering beats and fluttering melodies complementing vocals which sound somewhat purposefully like they’re trying to catch up to the rhythm. From there, “VIRTUE” ups the ante slightly with quicker percussion and raspy vocals urgently gliding across a changing composition that flits between lounge room piano and rim-clicking drum beats.
There’s an argument that “FLOAT” is a tad too radio-friendly, with its dainty vocals, plodding melodies, and undercurrents of bass feeling undeniably poppy, but there’s something endearing about the change of pace. Gone are the moments of sonic intrigue, and in place are dreamy soundscapes which move along comfortably with seamless toe-tapping quality. “FLOAT” wouldn’t sound unfamiliar at a trendy coffee shop and is a genuine highlight of the album.
Towards the end, “SAND” goes through the previously heard motions, sticking to the general subdued mood established, whilst “PRETEND” moves back towards unabated emotion with its wispy vocals and prominent piano melody. It’s a track which builds to a much more defined climax than anything else on the record and feels more optimistic than everything which precedes it until a quiet, fading outro imbues a sense of sorrow.
Finale “DROWN” floats through its runtime, with hummed vocals more common than anything else and the melodies purely complementary. It leaves a sense of openness for whatever comes next, and succinctly brings to an end an LP which may not succeed in replay value, but gives the listener plenty to think about.