Monday, 6 February 2012

Record Review - Joe Robinson

Joe Robinson
Let Me Introduce You
ABC / Universal

Let Me Introduce You is the third album from young (he’s now 20) Australian guitar-slinger Joe Robinson, who of course won reality talent show Australia’s Got Talent in 2008, but who has since gone on to forge a reputation as a consummate and intelligent artist in his own right.

Let Me Introduce You is a very apt title for this record, because despite the fact Robinson has released two previous albums – Birdseed (’07) and Time Jumpin’ (’09) – this is a record of first’s for this prodigious guitar talent.  Initially, it’s a record which features a lot more electric guitar than we’ve heard from Robinson in the past (who I first saw as a solo, instrumental acoustic blues fingerpicking extraordinaire), and secondly (and perhaps more importantly) it’s the first record where Robinson has incorporated vocals.  The verdict?  Perhaps he shouldn’t have.

Being only 20 and a novice vocalist, in a nutshell, Robinson’s voice just isn’t strong enough to showcase at this point.  Not when matched with his guitar prowess, anyway.  Added to this is the extremely slick production that drips off Let Me Introduce You, which when applied to his voice, just makes this come off as a super-produced R&B record – the new school kind of R&B, not the old rhythm & blues kind.  As well, Robinson’s lyrics are hardly likely to set the world afire, but we’ll let that one pass – this is his first crack, after all.

Given all of the above then, Let Me Introduce You isn’t a very strong record.  Save, of course, for Robinson’s guitar.  It doesn’t fit with his voice, but what’s there is incendiary – whether ripping effortlessly along on instrumental opener ‘Lethal Injection’, or riding rainbows on the likes of ‘Adelaide’, it’s all in the right place – shredding when the situation dictates, delicate gossamer when needed.  Joe Robinson is a guitarist first and foremost, and for that, this record is solid.  That voice though, if he wants to continue singing, it has to get tough.  It really does.

Samuel J. Fell

No comments:

Post a Comment