We Were Enchanted

by: Roommate

The production of We Were Enchanted began in the spring of 2006, just before the release of Roommate’s debut album Songs the Animals Taught Us. This period saw Roommate complete its transition from the solo project of Chicagoan Kent Lambert to a cohesive and versatile live band and recording ensemble. Preliminary tracks were recorded in Lambert’s bedroom studio, but it didn’t take long for the album to become a wholly collaborative project. All manner of experiments were conducted, from the recording of a choir of “canjos” (instruments made by Southside Chicago high school students from coffee cans and plywood) for the album’s opening to the use of turpentine cans, empty kegs and beat-up hubcaps as percussion. Old friends and new acquaintances were invited to contribute horn parts and guitar solos or join in on chorus vocals. By the time of the album’s completion in October 2007, the band had worked in seven different recording environments with over twenty musicians, including some of Chicago’s most celebrated free jazz players as well as former and current members of such bands as Califone, Till By Turning, Imaginary Folk, Fruit Bats, and Mucca Pazza.

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Just listed 17 in the Top 50 records of 2008 by cokemachineglow!

The album title, We Were Enchanted, holds all the keys. It starts with fantasy not as escapism but introspection and ends with a promising new direction for groupthink. Lambert finds enchantment not in fantasy outside of reality but in the strange fantasies that teem beneath reality, the oozing stuff that dreams are made of. To explore this territory on a purely personal level is indulgent in an honorable enough, sabbatical-type way but to join with a host of peers in mining those depths for some kind of transcendent commonality, some communion, some community‚Ķthat shit’s dangerously close to sublime.

-Chet Betz, Cokemachineglow (from Roommate’s #17 listing in CMG’s Top 50 Albums of 2008)

…Lambert emerges fully from the bedroom, with baroque, emotionally resonant arrangements incorporating everything from string quartet to banjo to bassoon to musical saw. Lambert is working a much larger canvas here than before, in both musical and lyrical terms, stretching out his compositions into lush, subtly textured mini-symphonies of pop abandon.

-Jennifer Kelly, Popmatters

When Lambert and the band sing “We’re all real tired of the shitty stuff,” the words seem to sum up their determination to survive and even be happy in a hopelessly messed-up world, pursuing the kind of modest, local, cooperative effort that’s helped Roommate flourish.

- Miles Raymer, Chicago Reader

The songs build and grow, only collapsing just before they’ve reached their zenith; it’s a living, breathing work, one that develops and grows with the passage of time and with the listener, a complete but not completed picture, leaving room for interpretation and exploration and all the other things that make truly good music so lasting…

- Marisa Brown, All Music Guide