A Room Full of Tuneful? Which room, exactly? Bronze Age Fox's tender guitar strums fall somewhere between the porch and the bedroom; the Technicolor drama of Empire State seems channeled from a left-on TV leaching sound in a late-night loungeroom; and the Dreams of Tall Buildings' track is like hearing the world at a remove through the dense, sound-softening walls of your bedroom.
In any case, this album is rhythmically more in tune with wind-up toy noises conjured in playrooms and afternoons frittered away with watching-outside-your-window imaginings than the mechanical abrasions of an industrial workshop or the wobbly drones of washing machines at work in a laundry. Well, what do you expect from a compilation showcasing acts on a UK electronic label called Melodic, anyway? Some of the bands featured on this tunefully warm album are Minotaur Shock, Topo Gigio, and Pedro (with a double scoop of the latter act).
So evidently, given the raison d'etre of this recording (i.e. record-label show-offiness), there's an overarching cohesive sound to A Room Full of Tuneful. Think soft-glow electronica bundled with some cinematic histrionics (Topo Gigio's "Locked Up" ratchets up increased tension celluloid-style, overlaying pretty diversions and pressure-drop spaces and beats), dreamsome, jazzy piano tinkering (Noakes Pressure's "Weaves Tickling the Ivories"), or recurring lonesome tremors and glassy handclicks (Minotaur Shock's "Lady Came From Baltic Wharf").
On the other hand, the fact that the set list coheres so easily can be a point of contention do the songs complement each other so well because there is a sharp lack of distinction between some of the artists? Then again, the gospel/soul doo-doo-doo's on Lucky Pierre's "Dawn, Burst & Tired" may well make the track stand out from the pack, but it also gives it a cheesiness and contrived spirituality reminiscent of TV ads for car tires, swanky booze products or tourist hotspots.
Given that electronic music can sometimes sound ageographical, it's interesting that the one track that hints at the label's UK origins is a rather indie-rock number, the giveaway on Tex La Homa's "Feel Tied Down" being the obviously Brit vocal murmurs (though, when I think about it, the accompanying music has an in-the-distance sparseness and coldness that is also patently British). While the failure of compilations is that they often offer very little to very few a new-but-not-above-par track to a completist, an inconsistent mix to a partygoer A Room Full of Tuneful works because it offers a good batch of songs that cohere and forge an agreeable impression. Play it in every room of your house.