Review Summary: The little band that could
For over six years Rook have been mainstays of the Melbourne alternative rock scene, their talent and prowess obvious in the live arena but, while their earlier EPs showed the band’s potential, they never really managed to (pardon the pun) add the colour of their live shows to record (bar the amazing Live on Manchester Lane
). On Add Colour
however, this has changed with Rook managing to put together five songs that are all subtly different, showing off the bands wide range of influences, without sounding like any of them.
With previous studio releases being plagued by dodgy production and recording Rook put an end to that on Add Colour
enlisting Shihad drummer Tom Larkin to produce and uber-producer Forrester "the fourth/fifth/sixth member of every band in Australia" Savell to mix and master the record. The result has payed dividends for the band as it has brought their funk and reggae infused alt rock to levels rivalling scene giants Karnivool and Dead Letter Circus.
After a short intro track, first single “27 Seconds” begins and it is immediately obvious just how far Rook has come in the last few years in both song writing and musicianship. Featuring .hinge’s Glenn Johnstone on guest backup vocals, “27 Seconds” has a slow build up before vocalist Forbes McKail shows of his new and improved range in the soaring chorus, proving to be one of the finer moments on the record and showing why McKail is considered one of the better rock vocalists in Melbourne.
“Come” is a typical Rook track, funk infused alternative rock with McKail’s commanding vocals, while “Sonny” shows how tight the band has become since their last EP. “Sonny” sees Bassist Adam May and guitarist Tyson Fish taking the lead taking the traditional Australian alt rock sound and infusing some funk and reggae for good measure. While on paper it sounds like it doesn’t work, Rook manage to blend the genres seamlessly to create what is the standout track on the EP.
For the final two tracks “Then The Jury Decides...” and “Animals and Chemicals”, Rook turn to their more progressive influences such as Karnivool and Tool, again showing their wide range of influences. “Then The Jury Decides” sees McKail take a more aggressive approach to his singing on what is the heaviest song on the EP, while “Animals and Chemicals” gives drummer Rod Crowe his chance to shine, his thumping hits providing the perfect back drop for the rest of the band to let loose and McKail to again, show off his vocal prowess.
All in all, with Add Colour
, Rook have done exactly that, adding some needed colour to their music and while the only major complaint for the EP is its length (a measly 22 minutes) Rook have managed to offset this by creating a killer set of songs which will only see them move higher on the pecking order of the ever growing alternative rock scene in Australia.
Listen to “27 Seconds” and “Then The Jury Decides...” here: www.myspace.com/rookband