Stephen Robinson: Sunrise review – surges with vitality and optimism
Medicine Ball Records
Stephen Robinson, a previous member of once highly touted Dublin bands Angel of Mons and The Laundry Shop, has been forging a solo career path for several years while undertaking production duties for a variety of aspiring musician and groups.
After the usual upsets, kickbacks and lockdowns, Robinson, now in his early 40s, is finally ready to push out his new album. With a title that indicates fresh beginnings, there are classic songwriter touches throughout.
Lines and Safe from It All are sky-high, jangling pop songs that have bursts of west coast intensity rippling through them; the title track, I Won’t Let You Down and Holding Out are imbued with Americana heartland sensibilities that evoke highpoints of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Leon Russell and The Band; meanwhile, ballads Get a Little Closer, Going Gone, Poor Boy Blue, and Terrified catch the essence of personal issues with real sensitivity.
While the disparity and display of styles doesn’t overly detract from the sense of what Robinson is trying to do here, not everything works in his favour (notably, the funk of Sweet’n’Sour and the bossa nova-isms of Howl).
Not to worry. Sunrise is as sunrise does: it surges forwards with vitality, optimism and more than several impressive tunes.