ROOM EXPERIENCE – Room Experience [1st album CD version +3]
Perhaps the biggest star-studded AOR / Melodic Rock project put together in recent years arrived with its self-titled debut of ROOM EXPERIENCE.
Italian keyboardist and songwriter Gianluca Firmo begun to develop his love for melodic rock music during the ’80s, following chart-breakers like Bon Jovi, Europe, Bryan Adams and many others.
It didn’t take too long before Gianluca felt the need to lay his hands on his keyboard and start writing some original music.
After more than two decades of passionate love for the melodic rock world and way more than 100 songs written, he decided that it was time to collect some of them in a professional recording, an idea that took place in late 2013 when he approached Davide “Dave Rox” Barbieri (Wheels Of Fire, Charming Grace) and Pierpaolo “Zorro11” Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace, Lionville) asking them to produce his debut album.
With a songwriting spectrum able to cover a wide range of styles coming from classic AOR to more up-to-date melodic rock, a powerhouse and versatile vocalist was needed.
Extraordinary singer David Readman (Pink Cream 69, solo, Voodoo Circle) was officially approached to perform all the songs of the project, introduced to the trio by a common friend: star producer of the moment Alessandro Del Vecchio (Revolution Saints, Hardline, Edge Of Forever, Shining Line), who also handled mix / mastering duties and guests on one track.
With a production team ready to work and a star singer secured, a line-up of skilled musicians was needed in order to carry songs to completion, so guitar player Steve De Biasi (Gunshy, Charming Grace) and bassist Amos Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace, Lionville) were recruited to build a solid instrumental backbone.
A huge list of talented artists from the genre joined them in the making of “Room Experience”: Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Fergie Frederiksen, Charming Grace), Stefano Zeni (Wheels Of Fire), Boris Matakovic (Human Zoo), Ivan González (Secret, 91 Suite), Aurë (Charming Grace), and lots more.
“Shock Me” starts with some ethereal keyboards that gives us a sense of what will be found on this record: strong songwriting / arrangements, hooky melodies and big choruses.
Follower “Tomorrow Came” is a gorgeous melodic rocker full of magic with a moving drive, then midtempo “Run to You” is pumped by a pulsating rhythm where Readman sings in a really classy style.
First AOR melodies arrive with the keyboard filled “Queen of Every Heart” – one of the highlights for me – featuring very melodic guitars by Stefano Zeni (Wheels Of Fire).
“Another Day Without You” is another elegantly crafted AOR midtempo embellished by acoustic guitars over the synth cloud, before the pre-chorus and the ridiculously main chorus embraces you. A winner.
But there’s more quality: “One Way Out” is a simple yet really effective melodic rock track to drive your car fast, same with the fun “Not Time yet for a Lullaby”.
“Rainbow in the Rain” is the power ballad, while “The Only Truth” is the ‘slow’ ballad. Both are compelling compositions very well performed and arranged.
“No Signs of Summer” brings back the glossy AOR – great rhythm guitars here and super chorus – before the disc ends with “Only Goodnight”, with the mentor of this project, Gianluca Firmo, on lead vocals. He sings quite well, and the composition is long as the song continues as a ‘hidden track’.
This physical CD includes the alternate, ‘single version’ of “Only Goodnight” featuring Deavid Readman that really worth the purchase.
“Room Experience” should be the more 1987-88 sounding AOR / Melodic Rock album recorded since… the 1987-88 years.
The songs, the arrangements, the performances by all involved (check personnel) bring back the feeling of the finest moments of the genre.
Production is really good, bright, warm, melodious, enhancing the keyboards of course, but also giving room for sharp guitars and the tight bass / drum combo needed for this type of music. And we have Readman at the mic, guarantee of delicious vocals.
A wet dream for classy AOR fans.
01. Shock Me
02. Tomorrow Came
03. Run To You
04. Queen Of Every Heart
05. Another Day Without You
06. One Way Out
07. The Only Truth
08. No Time Yet For A Lullaby
09. Rainbow In The Rain
10. No Sign Of Summer
CD Version BONUS TRACKS:
12 – Siren’s Song
13 – Wounds Of Love
14 – Only Goodnight (Alt. Version David Readman Lead Vocal)
David Readman (Pink Cream 69) – lead and backing vocals
Gianluca Firmo (Firmo) – keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on 11
Davide Barbieri (Wheels Of Fire) – keyboards, guitars, backing vocals
Pierpaolo Monti (Shining Line, Lionville) – drums, percussion
Amos Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace) – bass
Steve De Biasi (Gunshy, Charming Grace) – guitars
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Hammond on 9
Ivan Gonzalez (Secret, 91 Suite) – guitars on 2, 5, 10
Sven Larsson (Street Talk) – guitars on 7
Stefano Zeni (Wheels Of Fire) – guitars on 4
Boris Matakovic (Human Zoo, Charming Grace) – sax on 2
Elena Aurë (Charming Grace) – backing vocals on 2, 9