| Artist: The New York Room|
CD Title: Courtesan
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Bringing a somewhat stylistically diverse musical blend to the table, The New York Room's Courtesan presents an ethereal/darkwave sound marked by angelic female vocals and keyboard arrangements that run the gamut from lush ethereal strings to more subdued piano pieces. Incorporating the talents of a number of excellent female vocalists as well as the guitar work of Matt Lund and Derek Menchinger, the band revolves around songwriter/keyboardist/producer Matthew Ervin, whose programming and synth work lay the album's musical foundation.
The opening "I Wear Your Ring" is a spectacularly emotional synth and vocal ethereal track, a more concrete remix with electronic percussion closing the disc. Other tracks, like "Baby Blue", "Inside the Dream", and "Floatful & Remembering (The Scarlet Hours I Was A Rose)", enter upbeat ethereal territory a la The Cocteau Twins. Still others lean toward the moody darkwave side of the spectrum, including the mysterious eastern-tinged "Chasing the Horizon" and "When I'm Broken" as well as the Switchblade Symphony-esque "Cuts Through the Skin (Down to the Bone)". "The Thistle in the Kiss" and "In Spite of Everything" present moody, sensual, late-night trip-hop lounge numbers, while "Breathing Farewell's Sigh" is a nicely done, uplifting piano ballad. Two instrumentals round out the disc, a lovely synth and piano rendition of Erik Satie's "Gymnopedie #1" and a decent, albeit perhaps overly synthetic sounding, keyboard recreation of the traditional "Dies Irae".
As a whole, The New York Room's Courtesan is a solid ethereal/darkwave offering that, despite its stylistic diversity, is fairly consistent and impressive. From its beautiful ethereal opener through an array of moody darkwave, airy ethereal tracks, mellow trip-hop, and more, the disc is interesting and emotive but never redundant. Ethereal/darkwave fans looking for something that doesn't conform to a given sonic mold should give Courtesan a spin.
The New York Room website: www.thenewyorkroom.com
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