The past five years have been fairly auspicious for The Roomsounds. The Connecticut quartet began its musical life as a full-bore Punk band under a different name, which earned the group a slot on the Warped Tour and scored it a Warner Bros. contract. But eventual legal hassles with the label and a gnawing dissatisfaction with the limitations of its sound led the group to the momentous decision to leave New England behind and relocate to Dallas, chosen for its warmer climate and central-ish position between the coasts.
Once ensconced in a barren industrial space with no amenities, the newly dubbed The Roomsounds — vocalist/guitarist Ryan Michael, guitarist Sam Janik, bassist Red Coker and drummer Dan Malone — reinvented itself as a straight-up Rock band, tapping into the ’60s vibe of Exile on Main St.-era Rolling Stones and Faces while adopting the contemporary energy of similarly inclined translators like Oasis and The Black Crowes.
The Roomsounds’ eponymous 2012 debut was forged in the crucible of a long and rigorous road schedule and garnered the band a ton of positive press and newly converted fans. In the interim, Michael started playing a Rickenbacker, which leant a Byrds-ian/Tom Petty/Big Star jangle to the band’s newly classic sound and further influenced the band’s retooled direction. At some point, a friend of Muscle Shoals’ renowned FAME recording studio president Rodney Hall tipped him to The Roomsounds’ debut; Hall was so impressed that he reached out to the band and invited them to record a sophomore album at his historic facility.
As a result, The Roomsounds’ follow-up, Elm Street, pushes the band down a soulful path while pumping up the Petty/Alex Chilton/Brian Wilson end of the spectrum. The Roomsounds appear to live the ’70s lifestyle to its fullest. There’s a 24-hour party taking place in the band’s East Dallas headquarters, and every photo of the group looks like a shot of the Stones taken by Mick Rock on the Goats Head Soup tour. But don’t make the mistake of thinking The Roomsounds are a group of retro-posers looking to recapture some lost moment in history in a flat photograph. The members of The Roomsounds aren’t living someone else’s lives; they’re making the most of their own. And like the bands that inspire them the most, the musicians write the best songs they can and play the hell out of them with every molecule of dedication and passion at their disposal. And that is the bottom line for Rock & Roll in any generation.
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