The New York Room Courtesan
By Marcus Pan
Matthew Ervin's The New York Room (who are
actually based in Michigan) provide a loving yet melancholy piece of music in
the form of Courtesan. The lyrical content is deep and poetic and the
background movements are slow and brooding building a definite feeling of loss.
It's quite minimal at times, noticeably so from the start with I Wear Your
Ring, and can slow down to a near crawl, but will pick up again as
Courtesan moves along.
Baby Blue has a brighter appeal to it, but the female
voice still retains a sorrowful edge to it that splice nicely against the
lightly strumming guitar and brighter synth chords. Chasing the
Horizon's female harmonies are brilliant. While the track's plodding nature
can drag things down, it's these girls' voices that keep it from getting stuck
in the mud. Cuts Through the Skin, a favorite, ups the heavy just a tad
with harder guitar/bass hits and a voice extremely reminiscent of Lucy
Floatful + Remembering brightens up a bit and becomes
a point of light in darker territory and The Thistle in the Kiss takes
us back into brooding territory. There's a lot of wonderfully sung ballads
throughout Courtesan: Frost at Midnight which reminds me of Seven
13(2) is one fine piece and the slow moving Inside the Dream treads on
folk guitar territory. The New York Room's strength comes from the vocalists,
brilliant in just about all endeavors on Courtesan. And the second part
of this strength comes from Mathew Ervin's ability to write music that supports
and accompanies the female voice without ever challenging it for the spotlight.
One or the other alone wouldn't be nearly as refreshing.
The traditional interumental remake of Dies Irae
doesn't hold my interest with its slow moving ramble and tympani breaks.
Similarly the also instrumental Gymnopedie: 1 is a nice track, very
smooth, but somehow I feel I've heard it before even if I can't place exactly
where. A strange dark deja-vu, really. Courtesan does however close on a
nicely remixed I Wear Your Ring.
The New York Room combine elements of folk, minimal ambient
and sorrowful female vocals to really set a darker mood while not becoming
suicidal. A nighttime sky with a few stars present, points of light pierce the
occasional gloom of this otherwise sad record. Sometimes it's nice to sit back
and let something like Courtesan wash over you and in the end take away
your own morbid feelings with it. Closing your eyes you can be transported to a
haunting yet somehow soothing place. Very therapeutic, very well made and
craftily concocted. Now that I have The New York Room I'm going to dump my
The New York Room
Post: PO Box 282, Oshtemo, MI, 49077, USA
(1) Her self-titled release was
reviewed in Legends #111.
(2) Their CD, Unleashed, was
reviewed in Legends #129.
Click to Buy!