Robin Grey – Strangers With Shoes
[tags: acoustic, folk, 2010]
Listen while reading:
A little bit late, but finally Robin Grey gets featured here at CFM too. Early in January I found his album through Song, By Toad and just recently I saw a feature over at Schallgrenzen. There I posted a comment and because of this comment Robin Grey contacted me and asked for a review, not knowing that I loved his album since I found it in January. But as things go, I totally forgot to post about Robin Grey’s music and needed this reminder even though his music was a regular in my hi-fi for quite some time. But now I can take actions and fix things by introducing this great singer-songwriter/folk artist from the UK to all of you that haven’t heard of him yet.
Strangers With Shoes is Robin’s second full length, follow up to the 2008 Following The Missile debut and 2009′s I Love Leonard Cohen EP. And it’s something special, Robin created a very professional record that combines string instruments, piano, acoustic guitar, percussions and vocals and even accordion to an unusual folk with earworm guarantee, but not because the tracks would be just hooky melodies without fundament, but because every track is distinct from the others. I mentioned the accordion and because of it in combination with the monotonous percussion and the occasional strings the album opener, Younger Looking Skin, will stay in mind for a long time. But this is clearly not the only highlight on the CD, there are more; not to say every track seems to be a highlight. Roses From Africa starts as a slowed down folk song, and in the end becomes a classical seeming tune combining genres. A brilliant conclusion to the album. In between those two mentioned tracks there are e.g. the two wonderful songs I Love Leonard Cohen and Montreal. The first is a sing-along folk song with one happy and one sad eye in which Robin sings about his love to Leonard Cohen while everything steadily changes. What a wonderful homage and what a wonderful track. And speaking of wonderful tracks Montreal is just another of those outstanding folk moments on the album. Totally different in character, with banjo melodies, melancholic singing, spares, it transports a atmosphere of goodbys and loneliness.
I don’t want to go track by track, but also the remaining ones are this high in quality and Strangers With Shoes is clearly one album that lives from its diversity, or better: its ability to exhaust the folk genre without leaving the boarders or being really experimental. It shows the different facets you can realize while keeping your sound folky – and therefore it succeeded big in being really entertaining to the core. Robin’s voice sounds mature and could belong to an experienced folk singer-songwriter, at least sometimes, in tracks like the Younger Looking Skin this feature doesn’t shine through as clearly as in exempli gratia Ninety Days. But this is again another point that adds up to the discussed variety. Stranger With Shoes can be called a very solid album that has no real weak points from the beginning to the end. Even if I try really hard imagining what could have been better, it is very little I find. Maybe adding one track more to the album would have been a good decision, but with 37 minutes it already has got optimal album playing time in my opinion…it’s just that the album is over very fast because there is no single minute of boringness. So this seems to be no critical point at all. I have no idea what to criticize, Strangers With Shoes seems to be immune to negative critic. And so be it.
If you’re interested in hearing the whole album, there are several options to purchase it/get it: Buy the CD version and immediately get a download code for the 320kbps MP3s or just buy the MP3s directly. This can be done via Robin Grey’s bandcamp site. And here is a little surprise I have for you reading the whole review (or just scrolling down to the end): if you just want to take a listen to the album, you can download a 192kbps MP3 version of it completely for free by clicking this link. That’s just great, I know, but don’t hesitate to spend some bucks too. Strangers With Shoes – folk up!