(Melodic Indie Pop / Bossa Nova) Given the warm influence of bossa nova and other light-listening earmarks, Alexander Yaker’s Roomtone project neatly encapsulates an entire scene of bedsit bands, past and present. The bossa nova summons Nouvelle Vague’s morphing of New Wave standards into lounge-y backdrops, while Yaker’s tiptoed singing and understatedly fluid way around a guitar should appeal to fans of Eureka-era Jim O’Rourke, Serge Gainsbourg, Kings of Convenience and even the indie pop band Aden.
Roomtone may be steeped in a tradition of pop/folk softness, but Yaker’s musical resume is more diverse. For years he worked with different acts in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., including John P. Strohm, one-time member of Blake Babies and the Lemonheads.
Atmospheric not just in sound, Roomtone songs dwell on lulling colors, passing seasons and the quiet yearning of love affairs. Alcohol also seeps in, from a mention of Spanish wine to the lines “You could down another glass” and “Speak your mind/ It’s easy when you’re drinking.” That aspect sits well with the plush furniture and candlelit nights Yaker conjures in Roomtone, adrift somewhere between the slow ache of melancholy and the cozy hum of nostalgia. In other words, it’s sad in the best possible way.