Dark Room Notes
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Dark Room Notes

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE

Dublin, Leinster, Ireland | INDIE
Band Alternative EDM

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"Album Review"

With the 1980s undergoing a revisionist renaissance, every new synth-stabbing combo worth its salt is trying to recreate that much misunderstood decade. But Dublinbased quartet Dark Room Notes don’t sound like they’ve come from the ’80s; rather, they’ve nipped back there to give it an overdue makeover.

These songs don’t reek of retrogressive yearning. Grimy and silky, gloomy and shiny, this is incisive, glamorous, ambitious pop, blending insanely catchy hooks, basslines and synth melodies with an element too often overlooked in the search for longevity – atmosphere.

Thus, tracks like Broken Nail, Shake Shake My Ceiling, Let’s Light Fires and Each And Every One Of Us are slow-burning classics, era-defining in their craftsmanship. Complete with Ronan Gaughan’s suave lyricism, this is an album of almost cinematic sophistication that deserves plaudits far beyond these shores. **** - Sunday Business Post


"Album Review"

The album opens with 'Each And Every One Of Us', a catchy and unique track which uses drum and synthesiser perfectly. Other notable tracks include re-recorded versions of 'Love Like Nicotine' and 'Shake Shake My Ceiling'. The lead single of the album 'Let's Light Fires' is an electro-based song with a rock edge showcasing the band's universal appeal.

It's hard to segment DRN into one genre, they have drawn comparisons to both Interpol and Joy Division with the album being a mix of enticing, often hypnotic songs spanning electro, rock, funk & pop. The album release marks a huge progression for the band, with 2009 promising to be the year DRN will be making a massive splash on the scene. With a debut album sounding like this, I'd imagine the bookies have stopped taking bets.
- Glasswerk.co.uk


"Album Review"

Three out of three: a well-received single and EP and now comes the proof that Galway-Dublin quartet Dark Room Notes can sustain the momentum and allure across an entire album.

With 'We Love You Dark Matter', they have made one of those records for savouring when daylight disappears - songs for when you're going out and others for when brooding is the priority. It's piled high with synths and effects, but, unlike many, DRN never forget about the hooks.

And to show just how high confidence is - rightly - they've put the single, 'Let's Light Fires', as the penultimate track and saved the best one, 'Treetops', until last. Bass led, with xylophone and well-timed use of Afrobeat-style guitar, it shows they can take their sound in any direction they desire.

After this, four out of four seems like the safest of bets.

Harry Guerin - RTE


"Album Review"

Galway’s DRN have written possibly the best song about bonking to come out of this country since ‘The Way Young Lovers Do’. It’s called ‘Shake Shake My Ceiling’ and it appears on this anticipated debut along with other ice-cold electro-pop songs. Their neat-and-tidy synth-happy dark pop is defined by a general mood of frowning confusion. Frontman and lyricist Ronan Alfred Gaughan is something of a find. His staccato spitting and suggestive breathing are the making of lyrics like ‘Heartbeat heartfelt as we share breathing/You’re my high heel cryptic tictac sweet chick’. Crisp. - Connected Magazine


"Album Review"

When a band has made as much noise in the live arena as Dark Room Notes have, they inevitably face the age-old conundrum of how to recreate the live sound on record. Not an enviable task as most musicians would agree but We Love You Dark Matter comes pretty darn close.

This highly anticipated debut from the Dublin-based newcomers comes after the success of well-known single ‘Love Like Nicotine’ and the EP Dead Star Program. The result of being holed up in London last summer recording, We Love You Dark Matter is a composed, succinct and polished testament to the foursome’s celebrated electro-rock shows.

From the first listen, We Love You Dark Matter suggests Dark Room Notes have the likes of New Order streaming through their veins. The 1980s are evidently the era par excellence for imitation by a growing number of emerging acts today, yet Dark Room Notes manage to avoid the pretentiousness of their peers, wearing their influences on their sleeve without plagiarising. They fuse the best of 1980s synth pop classics with a more macabre soul, resulting in their own blend of electro rock – an irresistible recipe indeed.

A revamped ‘Love Like Nicotine’ features as the second track here, a rhythmic and vibrant pop number with a distinctive edge. ‘Shake Shake My Ceiling’ is an irresistible synth pop tune, undeniably seductive for its entire running time and featuring one of the catchiest choruses to emerge this year so far. Sounding polished to the max without losing its edge, this sublime song is the stand out track of what is a wholly impressive debut. ‘This Hot Heat’ is emblematic of how this acclaimed outfit succeed in combining such binary opposites – an inherent morbidity with pop sensibilities. Although the music predominates as their best asset, the best songs in terms of vocals feature the careful layering of frontman Ronan Gaughan’s vocals with Arran Murphy’s sweet backing vocals, such as on the subtle and lilting ‘Fast Flashes/Who Is Isabella Moonlight?’ or on ‘Broken Nail’. While ‘Elm’ is underrated musically, to say the least, it does boast the most atmospheric and poetic lyrics of the record. ‘This Hot Heat’ on the other hand is a real grower, relentless in burrowing its way into your psyche. Lead single ‘Let’s Light Fires’ is currently doing the rounds on radio and, although it is tucked away as the second last song here, it ensures We Love You Dark Matter goes out on a high point thanks to its stomping chorus. The excellent closing track ‘Treetops’ features a backdrop of electro at its finest and slowly builds into a memorable yet melancholic chant.

Dark Room Notes are unafraid to embrace their sombre soul and be angst-ridden (‘Broken Nail’) but their music carries a hypnotic energy that jumps to the foreground throughout. Ronan Gaughan’s breathy, half whisper vocals can be accused of having the same approach vocally to every song which grates a little. But thanks to the synthesised precision going on in the background, limited vocals don’t lead to the record being predictable.

After devoting an entire day during the recording process to each tune in order to tweak them to perfection, Dark Room Notes have succeeded in their mission to create an album that can stand side by side with their live performance. This foursome are distinctly non-Irish in sound and for a band so new (despite seeming as though they’ve been around much longer thanks to their extended stint on the live circuit) they have managed to create a musically flawless record. - State Magazine


"Album Review"

It's generally agreed, by cartoons at least, that postmen are most afraid of dogs. Over the past few weeks, however, my postman has gone to great lengths to try and avoid me. The reason? Well, I knew that I had been sent a copy of We Love You Dark Matter to review and there was no sign of it. Thankfully, my regular postman went on holiday last week and, after not getting any post for nearly a week, the replacement happened to have 13 pieces of mail for me, one of which was We Love You Dark Matter.

Normally the trouble with wanting to hear an album so much is that you end up being disappointed. Thankfully, Dark Room Notes have crafted an album that is so close to perfection that I haven't been able to listen to another record for the last week. Recorded over a two week period in London in July 2008, We Love You Dark Matter, places Dark Room Notes firmly in the running for many end of year awards. I know it's only April, but it's that good.

To the uninitiated, Dark Room Notes are Ronan Gaughan, Rurai Ferrie, Darragh Shanahan and Arran Murphy and have, thanks to electric live performances, built a name for themselves as one of Ireland's most exciting electro-rock outfits. Some of you wil, no doubt, be familier with Love Like Nicotine, the bands debut single. Those of you that are will be pleased to hear that the band have retained the services of Ciaran Bradshaw (Evil Harrisons, The Chapters) who produced both that single and the bands Dead Start Program EP.

Bradshaw's influence is most evident on tracks like The Same City Awaits Me and This Hot Heat where he somehow manages to keep the band's obvious influences in check enough to stop the songs verging into homage territory. However, Bradshaw seems to know when to step back and let the bands talent for mixing intelligent electro-rock rhythms with clever word play take over, especially on tracks like Broken Nail and ELM.

By condensing all their energy and enthusiasm into just 10 songs, Dark Room Notes have ensured that they have created an album will little or no filler. Indeed, such is the quality of We Love You Dark Matter it is difficult to pick a stand-out track. However, if I was to choose one track to sell Irish indie music to the world it would be Shake, Shake My Ceiling a song so catchy that it should be issued with a health warning 'Danger: Will 'cause spontaneous bouts of dancing.'

It's very difficult to find fault with an album as good as We Love You Dark Matter. It is as good a debut album as I've heard from an Irish band. At a time when music is so plentiful and money is not it can be difficult to know what albums to buy and what to leave behind in the record store. This is one album that you have to add to your collection. You heard it here first, Dark Room Notes are your new favourite band. - Cluas.com


"Album Review"

In 2007, Dublin-based quartet Dark Room Notes lit lamps in the corners of musical minds with their excellent debut single 'Love Like Nicotine'. It was undoubtedly one of that year's best Irish tunes, was followed with a stellar EP ('Dead Start Program') and boded well for the electro devotees' full-length debut. Dark Room Notes are a band who love the '80s - that much is abundantly clear from just one listen to 'We Love You Dark Matter', the album they recorded in London last summer. Yet although the synthesiser is an integral part of their sound, it's used to create polished, stylish pop music instead of the ramshackle 'uber-cool' twaddle being peddled by 80% of bands on the current scene. Opener 'Each and Every One of Us' immediately sparks the touch-paper, its piercing synth zap colliding deliciously and darkly with an offbeat rhythm; a re-recorded version of 'Love Like Nicotine' also features, and although it's perhaps not as tight or zippy as the original, it's certainly sleeker. There are flirtations with grimy electro ('Broken Nail'), dynamic anthems ('Shake Shake My Ceiling') and clean, warm pop ('Fast Flashes/Who Is Isabella Moonlight') too, and while Ronan Gaughan's vocals sound a touch harried at times, there's no denying that this is a supremely impressive debut album. Sure, it may take several listens to open up, develop and stamp itself onto your consciousness - but when it does, you'll want to know the words to every song. - Eircom.net


"Album Review"

Let’s cut straight to it - this album is a real peach. Over the last three year Dark Room Notes have set high standard for fusing slick electronic soundscapes with a refined pop sensibility and ear for a hook - but their long awaited debut album takes this to a new level.
Recorded, one track per day, in London last year We Love You Dark Matter (released April 10) is just as polished as you’d expect from DRN but they’ve also managed to somehow find a rawness and energy that can often be marked absent in super slick electronica.
The album combines ballsy new version of old favourites like Love Like Nicotine and Shake Shake My Ceiling with new gems such as the anthemic The Same City Awaits Me and lead single Let’s Light Fires.
It’s an album full or surprises, and one I’d image was pondered over endlessly, but an album that I think was well worth all the effort.
- Clare People


Discography

Love Like Nicotine CDS/7" 2007

Dead Start Program CD EP 2008

We Love You Dark Matter CD/VINYL ALBUM 2010

Photos

Bio

DARK ROOM NOTES

Dark Room Notes are Ronan Gaughan, Arran Murphy and Ruairi Ferrie. Formed in Galway on Ireland's western seaboard, school friends Gaughan and Ferrie recruited singer and keyboard player Murphy after a move to Dublin in 2007.

Dark Room Notes create hybrid electronic music, their sound informed by visits to Berlin Nightclubs and a youth growing up listening to indie records. Blending guitars, loops and beats with 3 part harmony vocals, they create music equally at home in a sweaty basement club or for introspective listening on headphones.

So far they have had a single remixed by Flood, played with Kraftwerk, Ladytron and Carl Cox, appeared at SXSW, CMW, CMJ, Popkomm and a slew of festivals around Europe and the USA, and released a Choice Music Prize nominated debut album "We Love You Dark Matter" on BBE Records.

The single "Elm" b/w "Shake Shake My Ceiling" will be released in July 2010, with tour dates in Germany and beyond to follow in September.

Dark Room Notes are currently working on their second album, which will be released in autumn 2011.