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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.

Customer Reviews

MBARs sound is hauntingly fresh.

I can't stop myself from listening to this album. I admit that I tried to resist after seeing MBAR live on the Lower East Side, performing in a drunken stuper, barely able to sing. My disappointment in his live show (despite what I had heard of his 'trancendant' live performances) didn't hold up against the haunting sounds put forth in his recordings. I constantly find myself humming the tunes as I go through my daily routines, making this album a priority above all else upon returning home at the end of a long day at work. It is true that MBARs lyrics are at times as disturbing as they are complex, but that very morbid complexity only seems to add to the appeal of the music itself. This album will likely be a major indy hit. I look forward to hearing more from Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson in the future, and will give his live performance another chance as well. Give this album a chance and you WILL NOT be sorry.

The Man Himself

Glory is raining everywhere with this album and the artist himself, one of the most innovative people in the music industry right now. You will NOT be disappointed.

deep comfort

the songwriting, performance, and production on this album allow for a substantial and important connection to the musical content, (which is more accessible than I expected, in a delightful way) and to a host of articulate moments- intellectual and emotional alike... sweet melancholia and satisfying wistfulness. I can't say enough.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

A young artist who clearly likes to go by his full name, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson apparently does nothing half-heartedly, as evinced by the Portland, Oregon-bred, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter’s intense self-titled 2008 debut. Often bringing to mind a less rurally inclined Bon Iver, the indie-folk performer incorporates elements of soul and blues into his passionate tales of...
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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
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Customer Ratings