Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CD Review: Rob Magill "Cope" (Weird Cry Records)

[$8 //]

This was the last CD by Rob Magill that I had with a link to the Weird Cry Bandcamp and so I wanted to review it before "Experiment" but sometimes shit happens and here we are.   I could have waited and done this last then but it just happened to be the one that I grabbed to start my review process with next, so much for the order of things.   Technically this is my fifth Rob Magill CD that I've been listening to and all, but he has appeared on other Weird Cry projects so I really don't consider that to be a true sign any more.

Oh, and let's not forget the fact that everything you think you know about Rob Magill up until this CD- "Cope"- is wrong.   I mean, really, where is the saxophone?   This album is stripped down to an acoustic guitar and one man's voice.  I know that somehow might seem simple compared to the previous work of Rob Magill, but when you listen to it somehow it becomes so much more than what it might seem.

Right away I notice the lo-fi quality of this recording.   It has the hiss of a cassette and I have to turn it up loudly to be able to get a good listen which is why on the second time through I used headphones and I recommend you do the same.  The singing is a cross between singing and sort of speaking, but with the acoustic guitar strum I still think of it as being folk and so in that way it just works for me because of the lo-fi aspect of it.

Musically this has comparisons to Tom Waits, but it isn't something you can really capture without listening to it for yourself (Though if you've been listening to the music of Rob Magill up until this point as I've said you should then this will all come as no surprise to you)   My best description for these songs would simply be to imagine Bob Dylan in his protest days strumming out lyrics written by Charles Bukowski.   To say that it has a space in the dark and negative would be an understatement, as the song "It's A Sad Morning" so carefully puts it: "That's where my depression lies".

While the same song goes on to state "Hope is all I have, it's fading with the rest / My heart is falling out of my chest", it doesn't come until later when he says "We lived today so let's die tonight".   In some ways I suppose you could say that the songs read like a suicide note though I just like to think of them more as the poetry of a mentally unstable person (Who is mentally stable these days anyway?) and it's something that I can relate to personally, sure, but I think even people without these issues could still use this as a guide to get a better understanding and knowledge of what someone like Rob Magill goes through and has been through.

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