Soon after Christmas I was contacted by Brum-based singer / songwriter Robert Lane. He told me he was working on an EP of songs due for release in March; and wondered if I’d be interested in reviewing it. Ever up for something new I said I’d have a listen. I must confess that at the time I knew nothing about him or his music; but I’m glad to say that has now been put right. He sent me a download, followed by a CD version.
Ends And Starts is a mini-album rather than an EP. It consists of seven original songs; all penned by Rob himself. I believe it is his second collection – the first being his debut album Robert Lane. (Which I haven’t heard). What struck me first about this new collection is the great variety of styles within it: Folk; Blues; Rock and Pop; and demonstrates the wide latitude of his influences. This means that Robert cannot be pigeon-holed very easily. (This appeals to me, of course, as I like a wide spectrum of music myself).
These are thoughtful melodic songs; well crafted; and, I believe, lyrically highly personal. He starts with the light rock song ‘My Love’s In Deep’. Its a good opener, with some fine guitar work and good vocals. The Folky ‘It Feels Like 5,000 Miles’ follows. It has very good acoustic finger-picking and some fine vocal harmonies. The third song is again completely different -‘Break My Heart Blues’. Its a typical up-beat Blues with a simple enough lyric, but enjoyable for all that; and again, has some very good acoustic guitar.
Next is the highly personal ‘Wilful Independent’ with its Giltrap-esque intro, and its brief and unexpected bridge. Then ‘Teardrop Tattoo’ sees Robert in the mind of a senseless killer. (I think I know the real-life case on which this song is based). It is effectively thought-provoking and a little disturbing. ‘Alone Now’ is reminiscent of an early ’60s Pop song. Nice arpeggios and lead guitar licks here; plus some heart-felt vocals. And finally the collection ends with the lovely instrumental ‘Mary’s Theme’ – a short but beautiful acoustic piece that I like very much.
At all times Robert’s vocals are clear; and his voice is good. He is responsible for all vocals; guitars and keyboards. And he is ably assisted by Matthew Pinfield on drums; bass and keyboards. The CD version comes in a standard Jewel Case with basic thanks and credits; and a simple but effective design.
I stuck the CD in my car and played it incessantly for a few days; singing along to every track – and that most certainly is the sign of a good album! If, like Robert and myself, you have an eclectic taste in music, then I recommend this EP. It will be available from Robert’s website shortly. PTMQ
Rob’s website… http://www.robertlanemusic.co.uk