STYLE: Rock RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 10324-9749 LABEL: 5 Minute Walk FMD5244 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
It's taken me years to catch up on California-based singer/songwriter Justin McRoberts but now that I have, I've every intention of investigating further this man's back catalogue. This album, Justin's first, was recorded in 1999 and is a delight. Justin's bluesy gruff voice with little flourishes of effecting falsetto is pure rock'n'roll. But rather than taking the equally predictable routes of surrounding himself with layers of electric guitars or settling for singer/songwriter predictability with acoustic and neo-folk trappings, Justin plumps for something in the middle and hand picked musos bring Hammond organ colourings to the rockers, lapsteel to the slowies and on the powerful "Don't You Believe" some wistful accordion. But all this thought in Justin's song arrangements would, of course, be irrelevant if his material was second rate. In fact, they are consistently superb. Whether it's a cooking rocker like the title track ("It took a little time for me to come around/To know the story's not much more/Than being lost and being found/It took a little while because I'm kinda slow"); the seriously funky "Jump Back"; the quirky "5th Wheel" ("I'm in Southern California/And the beautiful ones/Just kicked me out of their restaurant/I gotta tell myself I didn't really want to eat there anyway") and the achingly soulful "Not Free" with a lyric adapted from John Donne's "Not Free", the effect is nothing short of mesmerizing. Don't let the fact that this is a 10 year old independent put you off. Find a copy.
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