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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

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Album Review

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson is not your typical singer/songwriter, nor is his self-titled debut album your usual folky fare. Instead, the set is the sound of a man reaching the point of meltdown, shredding himself with his self-deprecating songs, while bashing his head against a wall. That may be a bit extreme, but it captures the intensity of this album and its immediacy; it somehow evokes a solo Johnny Thunders reeling around a stage in a drugged-out haze, crossed with a boozy Keith Richards strumming out tunes late at night on the road. Or an Irish wake attended by the dearly departed himself, and never more so than on "Buriedfed," a rollicking daydream of Robinson's own death and ensuing funeral, with an uplifting epitaph delivered on the hymn-like "Above the Sun." Producer Chris Taylor provides the entire album with a live feel and plenty of atmosphere, with his Grizzly Bear bandmates Daniel Rossen and Chris Bear and TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone helping flesh out the sound. And that sound can reach grand proportions, as it does on the fiery "Woodfriend," a stomping rocker with skittering guitar leads; "The Ongoing Debate Concerning Present vs. Future," a downbeat hard rocker with proggy pretensions; and "The Debtor," a shiny slab of '60s-flavored British Invasion rock. However, even the more minimally arranged numbers, like the singalong "Written Over" and "Who's Laughing?," a song that slides from acoustic psychedelia into Stonesy rock, never sound bare. Yet, as enticing as the music is, it's still just a backdrop for Robinson's hard-lived vocals and lyrics that reflect his many wasted (in both senses of the word) years. And even as he's "waiting on the sky to fall" and imagining death's cool embrace, in the end the artist isn't quite ready to leave this life yet, and salvages the set from being a total downer.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
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