album launch party

robin grey image

On Friday 12th March 2010, Robin Grey and The Looking Glass Band present an evening of music featuring the talents of

Barbara Bartz on violin
Iain Macleod on banjo
Amy Bowles on bass
Joe Allen on percussion
Ben Oliver on keys

with support from Theo Bard

…think candles, cake and acoustic music.

Tea by Pukka and Yogi Chai, Banana Cake by Whole Foods and Vegan Truffles by Booja Booja

Facebook page is here.

Unit C, 25 Belfast Road, Stoke Newington, N16 6UN – from 8pm

Tree design by Caitlin Hinshelwood

another form of relief review

A second review which I only found out about today!

ANOTHER FORM OF RELIEF

The art of the protest singer seems to have been lost in recent years. Which is unfortunate as there hasn’t been in a time when they have been more needed. The state of this world, and this country in particularly, is practically screaming out for someone to put complaints into words. Which is something of an odd way to open when I’m not sure I’d even consider Robin Grey to be a protest singer.

He does take some swipes at the government of the day (”On the radio politicians dutifully opine which liberties they are taking away”), but most of The Finchley Waltz centres on the personal. It’s a melancoly tale of finding love (at first sight, no less) and then realising it’s not quite what the movies cracked it up to be. So still a protest song to a degree, just not in the political sense.

But then what does all this matter with a voice like this? Grey is one of those wonderful talents that could recite the phone directory on record and you’d still be enthralled. His voice is restrained, yet you can still feel the emotion behind every word. This allows each song to sound light and breezy enough to pull you in at the start, before the emotional punch comes in out of nowhere. Leaving us with the kind of cheerful misery that’s perfect for this time of year.

song by toad review

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.