reviewed by Michael Thomas
The first album from Rooms (Beshéle Caron, who used to make music as I Make Earthquakes) was released in January, and it’s exactly the kind of music that sounds best under the covers. Lyrically, Caron doesn’t hold anything back, expressing frustrations and sweet sentiments—it’s all so easy to relate to as we try to navigate this “hurting planet.”
The confessional lyrics are backed up by the kind of garage-rock instrumentation one might expect from Lonely Parade, ramping up to another level only when it seems like the anger behind some of these songs needs to bubble over. The guitar is kept tight, and really, it’s essential because it allows Caron’s words to take centre stage.
As mentioned, Caron works through a lot of feelings on the record. “We share a pay cheque”—apparently a song previously released as I Make Earthquakes—by its title could sound like a look into the life of a close couple. But with an opening line like “There might be a boulder on my shoulders” it becomes clear that the “other” is one’s own personal baggage, be it sadness or frustration. It’s literally dragging you down. Then there’s “You and the wall,” involving two people trying to work through their fears and worries with one unable to even vocalize what’s wrong. Lack of communication can hurt.
It might be hard to find a bigger gut punch than “organizing hurts.” Though it’s actually about attempting to organize a union for 11 Vancouver coffee shops “with a broken heart,” the lyrics could just as easily be about a fractured relationship and attempts to reconnect with someone after a too-long absence. The lyrics “My cheeks burn because I don’t understand” is an especially powerful image.
There’s a sweeter side to the proceedings too, of course. “Night Games” speaks of going out and having fun in the darkness (maybe even seeing stars) and with male backing vocals, the two have a kind of Colleen and Paul vibe going. “Market value” is about as close to punk as Caron gets on this record; it’s a propulsive number about a particularly uproarious bit of gardening. Never has gardening in one’s underwear seemed so fun.
Caron knows well how to tap into a well of feelings and bring up the hardest-hitting material. Getting these emotional songs out is no doubt difficult, but the world is better with It takes a lot to show up in it.
Top Tracks: “We share a pay cheque”; “organizing hurts”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)