Review – The Round Window – Everywhere & Nowhere

“The True Beauty Of Music Is That It Connects People”

I have made many connections through music and met many people who have become lifelong friends through an appreciation of all that is good about it. One of those people is Richard Lock, the vocalist from Essex band The Round Window who reached out to me about reviewing the band’s debut release and the rest, as they say, is now history as they gear up to release their sophomore creation.

The Round Window are an Essex based 5 piece playing widescreen rock, drawing from a wide range of influences. This, their second album, ‘Everywhere & Nowhere’ was recorded with Robin Armstrong as producer from November ’22 to June ’23. The album contains eight songs that cover topics of conflict and duality, both on a personal and wider level. the album is, by turns, both hopeful and melancholy.

Richard Lock (vocals), Thomas Lock (keyboards, vocals), Jack Lock (drums, vocals), David Brazington (guitar) and Dietmar Schantin (bass) create a signature sound that was a huge characteristic of their self-titled debut release, an album which I called, “A high quality release with wonderfully emotive songs and superb musicianship.”

I had a chat with Richard and he had this to say about the new release;

“We had a lot more time with this one to work on textures and sounds and the songs were more written with the full lineup in mind. Robin (Armstrong) was involved from the start as well which really helped in building up the layers. I think you’re right with the feel as well (I’d said that it was slightly deeper than the last album, more wistful and melancholy) – it’s not a concept album by any stretch of the imagination but there’s more consistency with the themes and emotions. For me, it flows a lot better than the debut. It’s not a criticism of the first album because it was more “simply” written but this one needed that step up in sound.

So, a lot to live up to then but I knew, on the strength of their debut release, that this talented set of musicians definitely had the skill set to deliver…

‘Everywhere & Nowhere’ is another hugely impressive collection of songs from this accomplished band and opens with the ten minute mini-epic The Tides, a stirring song where guitar, keyboards, bass and drums deliver a combination of classic AOR with added dashes of prog sensibility. The glue that holds everything together are Richard’s highly distinctive vocals. His earnest delivery takes something very good and just lifts it to another level that, added to the evocative delivery of the music, makes this exciting outfit one of the best around at the moment. It’s high impact music delivered with more than a touch of flair, just take the mid section of the track where everything calms down as Thomas delivers a glorious piano refrain that just warms your heart before the evocative vocals join in, it’s genius. Everywhere & Nowhere is another excellent piece of music. The title track has a wonderful rhythm guitar playing that gives the track a real flow and the rhythm section are as superb as ever. This quasi AOR/Prog crossover sound has the basics that make a great song and a memorable chorus is one of them and this track has a cracker. One of the additional highlights is the fiery guitar solo from David which, along with the snazzy keyboards, adds real style to what is already a quality piece of music. The wistful and emotive All Roads Lead Home slows things down a bit, it’s a wonderfully affective and touching song that really hits deep. Richard’s vocal has a more melancholy edge and the music is refined and dignified. as it seems to meander along like a bubbling brook as time almost stands still. The repeated refrain of ‘All these Roads…’ has a longing and passion, as does the superb guitar solo, it’s a heartwarming song that leaves a bit of moisture in the eye…

I have to admit that I am a huge fan of the saxophone in any type of music so to hear it smoothly delivered at the start of the dynamic Resist put a huge smile on my face. This upbeat, energetic track would be chart worthy material, if we were back in the 80’s and it’s one of the highlights of the album for me and not just because of the glorious sax playing! The powerfully compelling music and charismatic vocal just show how far this band have come. Holes opens with some haunting keyboards before Richard’s restrained vocal joins in. There’s a simmering tension sitting just underneath the surface of this laid back piece of music, the guitar has a fantastic echoing effect to it and the song just oozes confidence and sophistication, AOR infused prog of the highest quality. A plaintive vocal and pared back acoustic guitar ushers in the nostalgic feeling Ghosts. This contemplative piece has a yearning and sorrow deep at its core which can be heard in Richard’s searching vocal and the dreamlike feel to the music, especially those oh so expressive keyboards. This track adds even more prog to the AOR and does remind me a bit of the great neo-prog of the 1980’s, just with added layers of class and sophistication.

The penultimate track on the album, Parabellum, opens with a keyboard sound that I can only describe as being very similar to Faithless, especially the opening to that band’s track Insomnia (bet you never thought you’d get that reference Richard?). It is by a long way the most progressive track on the album and quite possibly the most intricate and involved. Again, there a touches of 80’s neo-prog but The Round Window has taken that influence and definitively made it their own on this rather imposing and inspiring song. The music is taken up another notch (if that was even possible!), just check out the soulful guitar solo and piano, which turns into a heavenly musical duet, and you will see what I mean. A somber but oh-so moving piece of music that leaves its mark long after it has finished. All great albums should finish on a high and the band don’t disappoint here as the sumptuous Epilogue is delivered. A rather contemplative, laid back opening leads the song in with calm and grace and then there’s more of David’s soaring guitar and Thomas’ elegant keyboards before this heartfelt song takes on a more passionate tempo. It is five minutes of grace, passion and warmth that closes out on possibly David’s most fervent solo of all.

‘Everywhere & Nowhere’ takes everything that was great about the band’s debut and just lifts it several levels. It is lush, classy, insightful and so melodically impressive and is an album that The Round Window should be mightily proud of. Difficult second album? not for these highly accomplished musicians!

Released 8th December, 2023.

Order digital from bandcamp here:

Everywhere & Nowhere | The Round Window (bandcamp.com)

Order CD’s from Gravity Dream here:

The Round Window – Everywhere & Nowhere CD Preorder – Gravity Dream Music

Review – The Round Window – s/t

“Fear not. For fear itself is fed by fear, and all fears pass. Did no-one tell you so? Come take my hand, my friend, and we will peer into this fear’s abyss. And jump! And know.”

Genres are often a contentious point when it comes to music and some artists can get pigeon-holed in one genre when they often blur the boundaries between quite a few. Take The Round Window, I was contacted by founder member and vocalist Rich Lock with regard to a review of the band’s self-titled debut release and expected something with progressive rock leanings to hit my inbox but, low and behold, there is more of a classic rock edge to their glorious sound but they definitely do have a touch of progressiveness to their music as well. The band actually call their sound ‘widescreen rock’ as it straddles genres and defies easy classification.

I’ll tell you one thing, what I heard definitely made me want to investigate further…

The Round Window was formed in 2018, originally as a duo with Rich and Thomas Lock sharing vocals, guitars, and keyboards. Jack Lock joined on drums on 2020 and the line up was completed with David Brazington on guitar and Dietmar Schantin on bass. The album has been produced by Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf) with artwork by Paul Tippett (Frost*/ Black Star Riders).

The completion of the line up has allowed the band to make a deeper exploration of layers and textures on the eight songs on the album and to deliver a polished and very mature record that belies the fact it is their first one. Opening instrumental track The Window is like a prequel to the main story with its moody piano, textures from the guitar and keyboards and portentous drums and sets you up for the main event perfectly. Take My Hand is the first of two singles released from the album and is a quality rocking track with a catchy chorus. The rhythm section power along in perfect unison and Rich’s vocals, well harmonised, add a huge dollop of cool. Add in the uber-stylish guitar of David Brazington and you have one excellent piece of music. Among The Clouds is the second single from the album and has a more serious feel to it, an urgent riff and vocal get you on the edge of the seat and give a real sense of occasion to the song along with a touch of 90’s indie rock in places. The swirling keyboards are a particularly nice touch, it’s a real up-tempo track that has loads of mood swings and one seriously good guitar solo!

There’s a solemn tone to the opening of Victory, a very serious and dignified piece of music that gets under your skin. Rich’s reflective vocal is intense and leaves a wistful and melancholy aura above everything. The guitar, drums and bass then join in and add a contemplative and nostalgic atmosphere. Dave’s fiery, plaintive solo is a work of genius and actually left a lump in my throat and the beautiful flute of Angela Gordon almost tipped me over the edge with its amazing sentimentality, what a wonderful song! We are then treated to a slow, brooding masterpiece of music in the shape of Out Of Time, seven minutes of near perfect blues rock with a prog edge that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Rich’s soulful vocal, Jack’s measured drumming and Dietmar’s smooth bass are building blocks on what is a masterfully created piece of music but the icing on the musical cake is the burning, fiery and passionate guitar and ardent keyboards, what an absolute gem!

Nobody Home sees a return to the elegant, flowing rock of the two single releases, a well written and tightly performed song that needs no extravagance, just a really good piece of music with a really polished keyboard solo. Ethereal, exquisite and just utterly sublime, Avalon keeps the high quality songwriting coming. Gorgeous vocals and graceful music add up to deliver a dignified, simple piece of music with a feel of wonder at its core, simply beautiful. The final, and longest, track on the album is, perhaps, the most progressive. Another Chance builds slowly on Rich’s vocals and a halting piano line, backed by ghostly keyboards, before a guitar note, calming at first but then more urgent, segues in. The guitar then opens up with a heartfelt tone, sentimental and eloquent before Rich’s vocal returns and the song begins to flow quicker and with more urgency before, finally, the release valve is opened and off we go to a final triumphant conclusion.

A high quality release with wonderfully emotive songs and superb musicianship, this self-titled album may be The Round Window’s debut release but it shows a group of musicians who are already playing at a very high level and have creativity to burn. I can’t recommend it highly enough, this should be in everyone’s music collection…

Released 30th September, 2022.

Pre-order the CD from Gravity Dream here:

The Round Window – CD Pre-Order – Gravity Dream Music

Or the mp3 at bandcamp:

The Round Window | The Round Window (bandcamp.com)