Everyday Robots [VINYL] Double LP
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WITH EVERYDAY ROBOTS, THE FIRST FULLY-REALISED DAMON ALBARN SOLO ALBUM, LISTENERS ARE INVITED INTO HIS WORLD FOR A GENUINE ‘ONE- TO-ONE’. THE 12 SONGS HERE ARE THE MOST SOUL-SEARCHING AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SINCE HIS MUSICAL JOURNEY BEGAN.
ALBARN IS FIRST TO ADMIT HE’S A RESTLESS SOUL WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC. DON’T TRY FIXING A LABEL ON HIM. WHAT IS CERTAIN IS THAT ALL HIS PREVIOUS PROJECTS HELP FORM THIS SINGULAR ARTIST’S MUSICAL DNA. BUT IF YOU PEEL BACK THE MYRIAD LAYERS, WHO OWNS THE BEATING HEART BEHIND THEM? WHERE DOES HE COME FROM? WHAT MAKES HIM TICK? WHO IS HE? THIS ALBUM IS MORE DIRECTLY PERSONAL AND QUITE CLEARLY ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCES, FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD RIGHT THROUGH. GHOSTS OF ALBARN’S BOYHOOD IN LEYTONSTONE AND COLCHESTER WALK HAND-IN-HAND WITH REFLECTIONS ON LIFE AND LOVE. HE VISITS RECENT HAUNTS... UNDER THE WESTWAY AND IDYLLIC DEVON... AS WELL AS PONDERING THE TRAPPINGS OF OUR MODERN EXISTENCE SUCH AS COMPUTER GAMES AND MOBILE PHONES AS NATURE VERSUS TECHNOLOGY.PRODUCED BY RICHARD RUSSELL, THE XL RECORDINGS BOSS WITH WHOM DAMON CO-PRODUCED BOBBY WOMACK’S SUBLIME THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE, EVERYDAY ROBOTS FEATURES NOTABLE GUEST APPEARANCES FROM BRIAN ENO, WHO ADDS SYNTHS TO THE RICHLY ATMOSPHERIC YOU AND ME AND ELEGANT VOCALS TO THE ALBUM FINALE HEAVY SEAS OF LOVE. THEN NATASHA KHAN (BAT FOR LASHES) POPS UP WITH SUITABLY DREAMY BACKING ON THE SELFISH GIANT.
IT’S UNDENIABLE THAT EVERYDAY ROBOTS BEARS A STRONG, SOULFUL EDGE TO DAMON’S VOCALS AND EVEN A TASTE OF FULL-BLOWN GOSPEL WHEN LEYTONSTONE’S PENTECOSTAL CITY MISSION CHURCH CHOIR SWING INTO ACTION ON THE ALBUM’S MOST UPBEAT TRACK, MR TEMBO - INSPIRED PERHAPS BY A LIFELONG LOVE OF SOUL GOING BACK TO CHILDHOOD INFLUENCES INCLUDING MARVIN GAYE, NINA SIMONE, RAY CHARLES, AS WELL AS GOSPEL ARTISTS MAHALIA JACKSON AND HIS GRANDFATHER’S PAUL ROBESON RECORDS.
Top customer reviews
There’s something of early Boards of Canada’s landmark hymns to nostalgia in the tone and feel of the album. It’s dense with sound. Things click and whirr. Voices echo in and out of time. Yet the whole thing breathes. It’s open and warm and there’s space enough to climb inside to let it all wash over you. Listened to from afar, it might drift a little. The jaunty excursion of Mr Tembo aside, this is a mono-paced mooch of an album. On occasion the songs drift in to one another, woozily lurching from idea to idea.
It’s beautiful, though. Just listen. Melancholy melodies come and go. Unexpected musical twists catch the ear. The whole thing ebbs and flows. Its hands are dug in pockets and eyes are only for the ground, but its bones and heart are full of hope.
With honest, reflectful lyrics and a variety of instruments and production used, 'Everyday Roberts', self-produced by Damon with the assistance of Richard Russell and Brian Eno (whose influence on the record is obvious), is very pleasing on the ear. My personal favourite song is the quirky, accessible 'Mr. Tempo', a jolly little track featuring The Leytonstone City Mission Choir that makes me feel warm each time I hear it, and the one which, ironic as it is perhaps the least artistic, I find myself playing on repeat until I realise that it's now the seventh consecutive time, it should have been a big hit.
The other songs really aren't as uptempo, but are nonetheless brilliant because of this. The title track is stunning, like a Radiohead song with a robots theme, 'Photographs (You Are Taking Now)' is a masterpiece which sends you on a wonderful psychedelic journey, 'The Selfish Giant' is another thing of beauty, and very comforting to listen too quietly, and the breezy 'Heavy Seas of Love' and 'Lonely Press Play' are equally wonderful slow-burners. I was a bit of a late-starter to 'You and Me'. the lengthiest track at just over seven minutes, but it really got me one night when I was listening to it on a peaceful walk whilst on holiday, and I actually played to it through the end, of which I am so glad I did.
Damon Albarn, he of the soothing voice, is such a versatile talent and a very creative guy, but I don't think I'm being at all biased when I praise this solid solo effect through the roof. Even if I wasn't familiar with his past work, or if he was a completely new artist on the scene, I would still hail this as one of my personal highlights of 2014. If you are looking for a great indie album, then I highly recommend that you buy your copy of 'Everyday Robots' today. Oh, and for those of you who still adore his early work, pre-order the upcoming Blur album which is out in April, and one of my most anticipated releases in a long time.
The deluxe edition of 'Everyday Robots' is available here: Everyday Robots [CD+DVD], and contains a bonus DVD, featuring the official promotional video of the title track 'Everyday Robots'.
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