Somehow I only found out about this review yesterday…might explain why things have been a bit more lively on my myspace though…you can see the original review and browse around the rest of Song by Toad‘s excellent site by clicking on the picture below.
This is going to be a slightly equivocal review, I think. Robin is a new artist, and I always think twice if I’m going to be less than entirely generous about people you may never have heard of before.
What do I mean? Well I’m not entirely convinced by all of this album. There are a couple of tracks, most notably Somewhere, which are pretty unremarkable – I’m thinking Hugh Grant starring in another of those dismal Working Title romcoms of his, basically. Going to his MySpace page, there are a couple more like that, which made me a little nervous, I had to admit.
Associating these lapses with the rest of this album is easy, but really completely wrong. It’s actually a fabulous album for the most part, really it is: warm, melancholy, gentle, witty and just playful enough that the sparse instrumentation and generally slow pace never flirt with tedium. It has real life, this record, albeit a low-key, non-intrusive kind of life.
He plucks and rumbles along, in a most English manner, tells his stories in a plain and unpretentious way that is really personal and really engaging. By the end of the record you realise you’ve listened to the sort of music that feels like a relaxed night in with a good friend at the end of a tiring week. And you’re a bit drunk, but not too sozzled. And you feel a little sleepy, but in a nice, warm way. Things are fine, actually, aren’t they?
Bluesy and folky, with enough embellishment to add texture, but which never detracts from the gentle strum of the guitar and raspy, but not growling quality of his voice. It is minimal, but it’s not sparse, and it may be a bit DIY, but it’s not amateurish, and it may not grab you instantly, but it’s a really bloody good album.