The Window Room
(Equal Vision Records)
A collection of songs that expand rather than crash, The Window Room is the half hour debut LP for Toledo, Ohio’s Secret Space. While the entire LP might be named The Window Room, each track has its own room to grow with ear shattering dynamics. Every song breathes on its own, building with a natural rhythmic throb that finds the trio redefining how ‘pretty’ emotional music can be. Instead of wiry, distraught vocals that wrench out tough feelings, The Window Room rides a wavelength of distinct soft to loud swells on a fresh platter of 90’s revival/indie music.
What makes this record stand out is vocalist Dean Tartaglia’s all around delivery — soft crescendos not afraid to seek new heights with bright, illustrious falsettos and a crooning mid range. The attacking style of Tartaglia’s cuts through the umbrella of gradual surges in songs; tearing down blistering guitars with controlled swoons and sweeps. The organic nature of the writing go above instinctual compositions, with melodies soaring over a mixture of delicate orchestrated hits. It starts early with “PxCz” bubbling with processed guitar effects and a bellowing rhythm section. In direct contrast, Tartaglia is composed through each word, detailing a strong command on range, with a voice that soothes in front of the delirious, ever warping instrumentals. “I may just float through the atmosphere,” Tartaglia sings in a rather fragile voice on “Stars.” The ambiance is lethargic, built through slow-burner stylings and an airy vocal performance embracing the transient pace. The outburst of vocals at the end of “Second Life” is the highlight of Secret Space’s debut; a flood of emotional integrity shaping Tartaglia’s wants and needs.
Every song is its own lullaby, a soft call out of the darkness that other bands write themselves into. Yet, Secret Space still fight their own promise, evidenced on “I’ve Come Around.” The syncopated melodies fight for space, both in the music and the doubt laced in the lyrics. Yet, at the end, Tartaglia’s ruffled mind finds a speckle of light, “But I think I’ve found a solution.” These words — even if intended to be positive — are barely audible, hauntingly familiar and biting on the unknown. It is clever dark spots like this that expose Tartaglia’s careful attention to contrasting dynamics. “Cast Iron” brings to mind a desperate nature that brought people to love bands like Brand New, toying with incredible changes in tone. The chorus finds Tartaglia in a rift, bringing out a harsh strain to the voice that rides home an infectious melody; unwinding with tremendous power. The second chorus is something to be caught in one’s head for hours.
The Window Room is built much like a freight train, having a distinctive weight to the music that helps it hit hard. The only issue that could be seen is the pacing of the tracks. Each song trudges through massive movements, growing with instrumental prowess as the track comes to a close. It’s a record composed of ten fantastic songs, and one can very well hit shuffle and still feel the power of Secret Space. The ability to create compositions with this weight is not to go unnoticed. Secret Space make the most out of their instruments, giving each one its own space to shine through. Never does the mix feel too cluttered, even when the guitars are lathered in shoegaze like effects (“PxCz or the end of “Suffer In”). There’s still a neatly defined spot for every single thing to fit. This leaves an abundance of reasons to be captivated by something; whether it’s the steady rhythms, the infectious vocals or the transcendental builds in parts. The Window Room is titled well, cause I stare out this window and see nothing but open space for Secret Space to continue sprinkling their pinch of music on. A gradual takeover, a sparkling attention to detail, that’s the beauty of these compositions.