Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building Rome's "Nightmare" (Album Review)

I was one of the lucky 1,000 fans to take advantage of receiving St. Louis band Building Rome's latest album, Nightmare, for free!

I heard them soon after I moved back to the area when they played the same night as my friend Kara's band and really loved their enthusiasm, sense of fun and overall sound. I bought a CD that night and was horrified when I listened to it later that absolutely none of the keyboard had translated to the recording and that they sounded nothing like the awesome-fun band I had heard the night before.

So I was really looking forward to listening to something new that had been recorded and mixed better and I was not a bit disappointed. Generally, the album focuses on relationships, mostly the parts of them that will drive you crazy. Some bands they remind me of include Sugarcult, Kaiser Chiefs mixed with some OK Go and She Wants Revenge.

What Are We Fighting For - This was the opening track that starts out quiet and quickly explodes into full sound. I like the sound of this, it was catchy in a good way. It's vaguely anti-war, but the lyrics half the time seem totally random. Good song, but not stellar.

Tired of Waking Up - A mellow, happy-go-lucky song about being trapped in your head by memories you wish you could live again. Lots of gentle longing and I really enjoyed the overall feel and flow of the song.

Bring Me Home - This song is the answer to "Tired of Waking Up," where the protagonist wakes up to find that he's in his happy dream where he's with his sweetheart instead of waking up alone. It's full of sweet-nothings, painting the picture of a tender angel-blessed romance.

If This Is Where It Ends - This song is basically a bridge between "Bring Me Home" and "Nightmare." It has a single line and lasts for one minute. I didn't even notice it was a separate song until I was listening to the album for this post.

Nightmare - Once more it seems our happy couple's good luck has come to an end. Once more, they're splitting up and the 'I' in the song is taking apart their ex, while complaining about how their heart has been ripped apart. Just a good, solid break ups suck kind of song with a good fast pace driving it along.

Dr. Doctor - This song continues the theme of suffering carried over from "Nightmare" but now our singer's agony is caused by being in love again. He's begging for relief from his suffering. "Dr. Doctor I've been pulling out my hair/Just give me something, just make me impaired./Dr. Doctor, I'm tearing at the seams/She's in my dreams, I'm meeting her there/Because I'm living in a nightmare." In my opinion, this is one of the catchiest tunes on the album. There's a fun balance between a gentle melody and a frantic sense of urgency.

Sink Like an Anchor - This song reminds me of a lilting Celtic-esque melody. It's the type of song that you might sway back and forth to drunkenly with your friends in some random bar. This song is about being alone in order to protect a beloved. Kind of haunting, bitter sweet and lots of fun to listen to.

Burn (Take Cover) - This is probably my favorite song on the album because it's about a crazy powerful woman boys are afraid of. Like a domme's not gonna eat that shit up. It had my favorite lyrics: "Take cover run as fast as you can/That little girl's got a gun in her hands/And she's got eyes of fire, eyes of fire./ You're burned burned by your mission of sin/She'll take you out before you've taken her in/And I have no desire to burn." A fun rock romp.

Haunting Me - More pop-y, this song tells the story of a guy who can't get an ex out of his head because everything around him reminds him of her. I like that the cheery music contrasts with lyrics that would be ridiculously emo if the singer didn't sound just so darn peppy.

Last Time Again - This song turns all the meaning of the rest around abit by making the entire album seem about the same on-again-off-again relationship. The singer is begging his love to give them just one more chance. Lots of longing, but not too whiny about it, so I like that. I also like that it makes the rest of the album cohesive and makes the first song make more sense in context of the rest, since all this struggling to be together seems to be "What We're Fighting For." I like when albums tell complete stories, so this song and the effect it has on the others made me really happy.

Orange Case - Once more, the singer is asking for forgiveness from the beloved. Back together again, he's now done something to piss her off (possibly drug related) and is trying to make up. A nice pop-y alternative song.

Streetlights - This song is the climax of the album where we finally "see" the couple consumating their relationship. The singer is offering sex and a relationship as something they can believe in, implying that god is unreliable. He proposes having dirty sex in the girlfriend's car: "I'm gonna tear you apart under the street lights, baby/Fog up the glass in your car, no one will see under the streetlights, baby." Like the lyrics, the music is a bit grungier than some of the other songs.

Overall, this was a well made album that I have already enjoyed listening to several times. You should check it out.

You can listen to several songs off Nightmare at Building Rome's Myspace page or purchase the album on their website. And here's a video of their lead singer Jon and some band mates being ridiculous. "Nightmare" is playing in the background:

Building Rome ( | MySpace Video

Related posts:
Missouri Music: A Video Primer
Kaiser Chief's "Off With Their Heads" (Album Review)
MC Frontalot's Nerdcore

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Building said...

I'm the booking agent for Building Rome. I enjoyed your review. Personally, my favorite songs on the album are haunting me and bring me home. I wanted to let you know that we are going to be in Kansas City at the Riot Room on January 20th and at The Record Bar on February 18th. We would love for you to come out and review our live performance and if you get there early enough (and we get there early enough) to meet the band. If you have any questions feel free to drop me a message

May said...

I would love to! How can I contact you?

Building said...

you can drop me an email at one of my aliases, bromefan(at)