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THE CONFESSION ROOM – Concept Album, SimG Records.

The Confession Room

Have you ever had thoughts you’ve been afraid to share with your nearest and dearest?  Or fantasies that may seem a little odd to an outside eye? Welcome to The Confession Room.

Dan Looney and Patrick Wilde have created an original British musical with additional lyrics by Reece Looney and Sam Champness, which gathers a group of anxious individuals who divulge, what they view to be, their most embarrassing stories and secrets.

Looney’s eclectic musical background is evident throughout and certainly in keeping with the current contemporary musical theatre trend.  Some of the most exciting parts of the score appear in the ensemble numbers that top and tail each act with effective and impressive overlapping vocal sections.  Anna-Jane Casey reveals that she’s the “Happy-Go-Lucky” councillor of The Confession Room Caroline with jazzy sass, stylistically demonstrating one of Looney’s influences.

The Confession RoomHumorous songs “In Bed” and “Plus 70” lack something crucial to push them into the Avenue Q and Book of Mormon category: More awkward Disney than outrageously acceptable banter.  Perhaps a live performance would add the kick it needs, as the band on the concept album sounds a little over-produced and synthesised, lacking power and punch.

At times the lyrics fall into the contemporary trap of trying to be too real and in turn becoming too mundane but “Excalibur93” specifically excels into the fantasy realm.  Although we may not all be medieval gamers, the majority of us can certainly relate to online escapism, be it via Facebook, Farmville or Match.com.  Special mention goes to Devon-Elise Johnson who makes some curious phrases and lyrics unquestionably passionate, poignant and heartbreaking whilst looking “Through The Bakery Window”.

“Let Me Just Dream” is a particular highlight of the entire recording beautifully sung by Devon-Elise Johnson, Stephanie Clift, Natalie Bush and Rebecca Jayne-Davies.  The song is a prime example of contemporary influences, reminiscent of Benjamin and O’Keefe’s “Chip On My Shoulder” from Legally Blonde.  Another is “Confession Room Part 2” which strikes a chord with Fame‘s opening number “Hard Work”.

“Perfect”, sung by Dean Chisnall, stands alone as one of the most excellently crafted songs on the album.  It’s easy to imagine this moment stealing the show through a precise balance between desire, drive, remorse and reflection.

The CD’s booklet provides an overview of the narrative, linking the songs together, and although a little precarious one couldn’t judge without witnessing the entire production.  However, some darker confessions and musical nuances could potentially take this show to a higher and more interesting level.

The Confession Room concept album is definitely worth a listen: A wonderful taster bursting with talent and promise of what’s to come from this creative team.

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Review by Andy Rosenburg

For more information and to buy the album visit www.confessionroom.co.uk

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