On its debut album, Moodroom proves that driving guitar-based rock can still be melodic and heartfelt, personal lyrics can still be original.

On its debut album, Moodroom proves that driving guitar-based rock can still be melodic and heartfelt, personal lyrics can still be original. Sounding reminiscent of Garbage and Belly without seeming imitative, the five-member modern rock outfit has a special talent for switching moods, starting a song with a spare beat only to switch gears deftly a minute later, bringing in growling guitars and a healthy helping of distortion. ("Vivid Blurry," with some tricky percussion work by Sean Saley, is a fine example.) Other highlights include the drum-driven, bass-heavy "Declined," the poetic yet muscular "Soft Distortion," and the electronica-tinged "Connection." And on the slow-burning "Gone," singer/lyricist Stef Magro shows off her vocal versatility to great effect. Varied, smart, and catchy, Hung Up on Breathing is an impressive first effort.—WH