Review Summary: The soft and the heavy blend brilliantly on the band's debut album, showcasing their own brand of melodic rock.
I came across a two track sampler from this album purely by chance, in a small opportunity shop, tucked on a shelf in the back corner of the shop, between all the albums and singles that nobody wanted anymore. A few things made me buy it; the cover was engaging, it was less than a million years old, but most importantly it was put out by Roadrunner Records, a label that primarily focuses on quality heavy metal bands. So naturally I was expecting something of the same mold from 'The White Room', however I have never been so delighted to be wrong.
It's tough to attempt to describe this band. If The Goo Goo Dolls and AC/DC had a love child, I think it's safe to say that 'The White Room' would be the result, although this band actually sounds nothing like either of them. It's an incredibly diverse album and sound, with a combination of acoustic pop ballads and hard rocking tracks. It's also very much a family band. Wheelchair bound Marc Collins fronts up the band on guitar, with sister Steph on drums and together they share the vocal duties. 'White Room Music' kicks off with two hard hitting numbers; the first being 'Enemies Closer', which starts with muted guitar and a pumping drum beat, before progressing into a rocking chorus. It's much the same with 'Vicious Girl', and the guitar riff that begins this song is guaranteed to have you banging your head, as it has such a nostalgic old style hard rock feel to it, that you just don't hear in music anymore. The chords themselves are kept simple, much like the formula so it doesn't take long for the listener to identify with the audible pleasure they're experiencing. The drums are another high point of the album; they're kept simple, unlike some drummers who place fills everywhere. But they're still diverse, experimenting outside of the normal straight rock beat.
The album continues to delight as it progresses. Songs like 'Unbreakable' display a technique the band is fond of; acoustic chords and riffs to fill the verses and with distortion for the chorus, while 'I Am No One' almost takes the form of a rock ballad, with multiple harmonies in the chorus and a slower feel overall, with a guitar solo to cap it all off. 'Nerve' also deserves a mention. With a punk rock vibe, Steph gets to take lead vocals for the first time. Her voice is very much in the vein of Paramore and Flyleaf, and it was a wise choice to give her more of a forward role in this song, as her voice suits it perfectly. Then there's the other side of the band; the soft side. The best showcase of this is in the album's closer 'The Way I Am'. Normally I don't look too much into lyrics, but the wry reference to Marc's own situation is hard to miss; it's his message to the world that he accepts himself the way he is, and isn't about to let his disability become a hindrance to achieving his goals and dreams. Two beautiful picked acoustic riffs contrast each other through the introduction and into a positive sounding chourus. It's often said that the voices of siblings work well together, and it's certainly proven here, as Marc and Steph make this a beautiful duet, with gentle harmonies
It's a wonderful debut effort from some extremely talented songwriters. It's also easily marketable material and should have seen the band off to grander places. However most unfortunately 'The White Room' seems to have since dissolved and slipped into oblivion. The official website has closed down and physical copies of the album are now notoriously hard to track down. iTunes and Myspace remain as the only evidence that this band once existed. Hopefully they'll emerge again at some point in the future, as they showed great potential on this breathtaking debut album.
I Am No One
The Way That I Am