One of three bands with this name (including "The sexiest band in NYC" according to a source as reputable as MyOpenBar.com!), the Darkroom that is the subject of this review is a duo from the UK. The band consists of Michael Bearpark and Andrew "Os" Ostler. I honestly cannot decide who has the better name here - on the one hand, "Os" is an efficient moniker, but "Bearpark" just sounds really cool. Let's call it a draw
Anyway, Bearpark plays guitar with a lot of effects, and Os does electronics. That is pretty much it, making Darkroom similar to any number of bands going these days (i.e., Worriedaboutsatan, Voyager 1, Sealions, etc.). That is, effects and electronics seems to be the current trend in mellow, ambientish bands.
Except that Darkroom are not following the trend. You see, Some of These Numbers Mean Something is their eighth album in ten years. Not only are they among the forebears of this style, they are actually rather productive as well.
And it seems odd to me that i have never heard of them before. I mean, this music is right up my alley, and yet this is my introduction to the band. Huh. That just goes to show that there is lots of interesting things out there. More than you can ever know, i guess.
Darkroom start off Some of These Numbers Mean Something with the simmering The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. Electronics burble and the guitar whines under an eBow, building slowly. The title track is next, which chiming guitars and more intensive rhythms than the previous tune. My Sunsets Are All One Sided breaks things up a bit. It starts with a long minimalist interlude, chiming sparse guitar and a faint synth echo, but grows slowly into a dense, throbbing tune.
I could go on and describe the remaining 5 tunes, but i think you get the point. This is instrumental music with a hint of the ambient to it, and some occasional echo-y dub moments. Darkroom give us about 47 minutes worth on this disc, and if you like this kind of stuff then i think you will enjoy Some of These Numbers Mean Something.
That said, i don't think that Darkroom are really doing anything all that unique here. That is there is nothing going on here that i don't have on several other CDs. Darkroom are not (with this release at least) breaking new ground, but it is an engaging listen nonetheless. They have a firm grasp of dynamics, and their music flows with the collaborative ease that a pair that has lasted for 10 years naturally comes to. And there are some brilliant moments strewn about the heavily echoed end to Chalk Is Organized Dust really sticks in my mind.
So my recommendation is if you like spacey rock, give Darkroom a listen.