The Room in the Wood is the latest project by guitarist Paul Cavanagh and singer/lyricist Dave Jackson, last heard together as members of Liverpool post-punk band The Room who split up way back in 1985.
This album features eleven out of over 30 new tracks written in the past year with wide-ranging lyrical influences being drawn from "Russian fairy tales, Francis Bacon, dead oceans, swimming pool bridges and unanswered prayers".
The now grey-haired pair both pose in sunglasses like die-hard rockers but the songs are more reflective than rowdy. Many have mythical literary dimensions such as in Grey Wolf Lullaby and Snakeways or in the story of a fateful infatuation with a Raven Girl.
The opening lines of Vermillion Sands exemplify the gloom-drenched sense of dread many songs tap into: "Wearing death's head flowers in our buttonholes we meet at tower seven on the Crimson wall". This fits in well with the sombre mood (and melody) of Sky Pool which is a dead ringer for Joy Division's 'Heart And Soul'.
Despite the gothic overtones, there's still enough pop-friendliness to raise the duo out of the slough of despond. The two opening tracks, Greedy Stars and Magical Thinking reflect a desire for some kind of fleshly or spiritual redemption while Time Machine expresses a wish to put a clear distance between feelings of regret, loss, sorrow and fear.
The sense of hopefulness may be fairly muted but the need for human connectedness lies at the heart of the collection.
The Room In The Wood at Bandcamp