Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson burst onto the scene a few years ago with the support of the New York hierarchy. Now, as he releases his second album, Summer of Fear, which is his first for Saddle Creek, he goes and grabs Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio to aid in production duties. Would having such a producer ultimately effect the aesthetics of our new favorite troubador? How would Malone put his own touches on the record, or would he?
Upon first listen all the way through, you can immediately tell the difference between Summer of Fear and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson. Sure, there are ecclectic touches, no doubt influenced by the presence of Malone, but there is a certain sesnse of urgency lacking in these songs. “Shake a Shot” opens the album without making that statement you expected, although you can still feel the passion in the lyrics.
“Always an Anchor” is the second song, and it happens to be one of the more powerful song on the record. You can hear the struggle of daily life in the guttural power behind MBAR‘s vocals, which is precisely what made his first effort so powerful. This time around, it’s a bit more sparse than you would otherwise want, or rather, expect. If you listen to it closely, you can almost hear the “Wolf Like Me” guitar chug in the background.
What does seem more pronounced on this album, or perhaps clearer due to the clarity of the voice is the clarity of the lyrical content. We all know by now about MBAR‘s struggles, but it’s how he spins those around to churn out great tunes which is admirable. Not only that, but he sings about the despair of humanity, but in doing so, he seems to sing it with such conviction and understanding that you can’t really be worried about it any longer. It’s as if he has come to accept it more as fact, and the listener should too.
Listening to this album, you will find your songs that you like, and you’ll find flourishes of things un-MBAR, such as the various string elements, seen in songs like “Hard Row,” that occasionally seem out of place mid-song. Still, the more songs this guy churns out, you feel as if the better off we all are, as Summer of Fear, though hindered by various elements, demonstrates the songwriting capabilities of Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson; we should all be grateful for such an emerging voice.
Download: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Sound [MP3]