Review by Dom Vigil
Mike Bell & The Movies’ Room may be simplistic, but it’s catchy as hell. Filled to the brim with poppy, upbeat and relatable tracks, Room is easy to listen to, but still keeps you thinking and yearning for more.
The perfect opening for Room is “The Unwanted Dead.” Melodramatic yet poppy, this track will have you bobbing your head, tapping your foot or even humming along before it comes to an end. The blunt, crisp tone of Mike Bell’s vocals is inviting and relatable - within moments, you’ll feel connected to the track, and then it’s over, transitioning into the fuller, “Fucked If You Do.” The second song is longing, with the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” mentality, only much more blunt. Lyrically, the song tells the story of an unhealthy relationship, but with catchy vocals and upbeat guitar work that makes you want to sing along rather than feel sorry for yourself.
Following “Fucked If You Do” is the guitar driven “Cedar Point Incident.” The third track is very upbeat and catchy, following suit with the first two songs, but unfortunately the vocals don’t necessarily feel on par with the instrumentals, coming across as a little bored and monotone compared to the fun guitar work and otherwise upbeat tone of the song. However, this slight lull is remedied in “Nothing Works,” which hosts more of the vocal range that was lacking on “Cedar Point Incident.” Without sacrificing the signature blunt sound that is a driving force on the album, the higher vocals make “Nothing Works” feel much brighter. Not only are the vocals strong, but the guitar and bass work match them as well, and the lyrics are very blunt, simple and relatable in lines such as, “This isn’t what we were promised/But then again nothing works.”
“Kung Fu Nightmare” follows “Nothing Works,” picking up the pace with the raw energy that makes Room keep moving forward. While the chord progression may be simple, the song is catchy as hell - it absolutely works. It only takes a few seconds for “Kung Fu Nightmare” to hook you, the bass and drums keeping things chugging forward with a catchy chorus rounding things out.
Room is raw and simplistic. Mike Bell & The Movies aren’t trying to be anything they’re not, and that’s quite possibly the strongest thing about their sound. While at times, it would be a nice change of pace if they were a little more adventurous - see “You’re The Brains Of The Organization” - there are other tracks on Rooms that do push the boundaries. “The Shining Loop” will have you tapping your foot along in no time, while “Eternal Low Flame” hosts some do-wop inspired vocal harmonies and a fun key part that sets it apart from the rest. Then “Philadelphia Girls (Winter Edition)” brings things to a slower close, complete with diverse vocals and keys, sounding different than anything that comes before it. Though Rooms may seem to come and go in the blink of an eye, it’s short sweet and to the point, and will have you singing along before it comes to an end.
Listen to "Nothing Works"
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