The Roomates - Dawning

The Roomates - Dawning
Genre: R&B
Duration: 01:18:11
Artist: The Roomates
Album: Dawning
Release Date: April 30, 2012
Recording Location: SRW Studios, England
Styles: Doo Wop

British doo wop revivalists the Roomates come into 25 years of harmony and nostalgia with Dawning, their 11th album since forming in the mid-'80s. Like most of their other efforts, the album is a fully loaded trove of selections from the late-'50s and early-'60s vocal pop era, focusing on the squeaky-clean white doo wop sounds of acts like Jay & the Americans or the band's idols Dion & the Belmonts. Over the album's extensive 28 cuts, the band pays homage to such acts as well as peppering the playlist with nine original compositions. Faithful covers of classic oldies radio fodder like the Beach Boys' "In My Room" and the often covered "She Cried" find the Mates getting into some pretty complex harmonies without derailing the songs' familiar arrangements with too many extras.

The occasional inclusion of a more obscure track like Andy Williams' unexpectedly heavy-hearted and spooky "Music to Watch Girls By" keeps the disc from veering too far into county-fair territory. Even still, the fairly formulaic songwriting turns render even the lesser-known tracks and Roomates originals pretty repetitive before the record even hits the halfway point. Updated production values also detract somewhat from the overall picture on Dawning. The group's sound -- so mired in dreamy nostalgia and times gone by -- is drained of some of its impact with MIDI-derived bell sounds and crystal-clear vocal compression. Even the vintage-sounding reverby guitars and sock-hop drumbeats come off a little hollow, trying hard to re-create a music that owed much of its magic to the muddy recording techniques of its time. While the songs themselves are blemish-free and clearly the product of a lovingly honed craft, Dawning is best appreciated track by track. When taken on as a whole album, even the most enthusiastic doo wop fan might have a hard time staying engaged for the entire duration.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Dawning / Mark Barkan / Tony PowersThe Roomates2:41
Ala-Men-Sy / Harvey Hirshkowitz / Laura Lipkin / Helen MillerThe Roomates2:30
In My Room / Gary Usher / Brian WilsonThe Roomates2:23
Music to Watch Girls By / Sidney Ramin / Tony VelonaThe Roomates2:57
Crazy Girl / Victor MelendezThe Roomates3:27
Where or When / Lorenz Hart / Richard RodgersThe Roomates2:43
Little Miss America / Herb Alpert / Vincent CatalanoThe Roomates3:44
Oh I Wonder Why / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:32
She Cried / Ted Daryll / Greg RichardsThe Roomates2:41
Please Believe Me / Vito PiconeThe Roomates3:05
Baby Stay Away from Me / Steve WebbThe Roomates3:49
I PromisedThe Roomates2:35
Tiny Cloud / Vito PiconeThe Roomates2:35
Please Listen to Me / Peter Antell / John LindeThe Roomates3:34
Dry Your Eyes / Mitch Margo / Phil Margo / Hank MedressThe Roomates2:20
Lonely World / Dion DiMucci / Ernie MarescaThe Roomates2:31
A Fool Like Me / Nick Kennedy / Steve WebbThe Roomates3:10
Paradise for TwoThe Roomates2:29
Let's Call It a Day / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:26
The Answer Is No / Ruth Batchelor / Bob RobertsThe Roomates2:31
No One Knows / Ken Hecht / Ernie MarescaThe Roomates2:38
Just for You / Nick Kennedy / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:55
Smile Through the Tears / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:06
That's Not the Way Love's Meant to Be / Nick Kennedy / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:34
Don't Be a Fool in Love / Steve WebbThe Roomates2:36
Where Are You Now / Nick KennedyThe Roomates2:42
Guardian Angel / Walter Becker / Al Reno / George RiveraThe Roomates2:54
Don't Let Her Call Me / Susanna Pichin / Steve WebbThe Roomates3:03

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