Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Robbie Robertson

Far removed from his folk-rock noodlings with The Band, Robbie Robertson's debut eponymous album is a remarkable, cohesive masterpiece that practically defines the word "atmospheric". Enriched with the prodigious skills of uber-producer Daniel Lanois, and bolstered by sturdy support from luminaries like Peter Gabriel, Levon Helm, the BoDeans and U2, "Robbie Robertson" is underlaid with all manner of production textures, found-sound effects and instrumental colours that comprise a broodily quirky, at-times disconcerting but still effective listen.

"Robbie Robertson" runs through a plethora of styles - evocative, spacey mood pieces ("Fallen Angel", "Broken Arrow"), fiery but measured rock-outs ("Sweet Fire of Love", "Showdown at Big Sky"), stately, mid-tempo rock showcases ("American Roulette", "Hell's Half Acre", "Testimony"), and eerie, unsettling sonic excursions (the brilliant spoken-word song travelogue "Somewhere Down the Crazy River"). And as far as lyrical contents go, Robertson masterfully evokes fantastic, haunting images of death and desolation, devils and wildernesses, stormy weather and barren forests, weathered men and enigmatic women.

In terms of historical importance, "Robbie Robertson" ranks next to other 1980s opuses like Peter Gabriel's "So" and Paul Simon's "Graceland" in decisively proving that frontmen of classic-rock outfits can still make a name for themselves outside the defined parameters of their former groups. Superb, through and through.


Post a Comment

<< Home