OrphanEndorphinDolphinDorsalFin (Keep Safe)
The band ROBBERS is comprised of Jeff Mott and Dave Dunn. Their style
touches upon nearly everything, from ambient, emo, pop, indie, drum n bass,
techno-space-lounge (if that's even a style), while successfully evading
direct comparison. OrphanEndorphinDolphinDorsalFin is their first release
on Keep Safe Records. This is a beautiful and varied record that bursts at
the seams with its own musical content.
The density of the record is both added to by the high quality of much of
its lyrics and offset by the variety of sounds and moods presented. Musical
and emotional moods range from deeply meditative and introspective to
bizarre and hilarious. The tracks are a mix of both purely instrumental and
instrumental with singing and/or spoken word. While Mott and Dunn have made
a record that sounds as if it employed a cast of thousands, they called on
only three guest musicians in Robin Trent, Nick Kessler, and Jon Montague
(to whose memory this album has been dedicated to).
This is a true studio record in that the production (with mixing done by the
band and Steve Poponi and David Downham) plays as integral a role in each
composition as the parts it captures. It begs the listener to get lost in
its detail and invites headphones to be the medium of choice. ROBBERS have
created many richly layered arrangements while maintaining an amount of
breathing room to keep things from sounding overly produced or busy. The
band seems be exploring sounds on their most basic level, leading to many
song structures that have an organic, stream-of-conscious like quality to
them. This style of writing can be a bit challenging for the uninitiated,
but once the listener allows him- or herself to listen to music on its
level, the results can be inspiring and mind-blowing.
The album begins with some of it's most standout tracks, including "whats
we're ander", with it's plaintive melody and subtle building of texture. "Or
is it only this is what" and "RNC" both
evoke a spacious, wide open pop goodness while being completely different
listens. "A well known song" is arguably the most artistically effective
song on the record, as the music provides the perfect landscape for the
shifting tones of irony, desperation and menace of the panted lyric.
"Atypesetterinrussia" is another absolute gem of a song. It's fragmented
production and wonderful vocal performance are used to great effect (One
can only hope to hear more of this voice on future ROBBERS releases).
If the record has a weakness, it is that there is too much music (which
might sound absurd considering that nearly every track clocks in at about 3
minutes). Some tracks were stronger than others, but the 17 tracks are
sequenced well, providing a good ebb and flow of mood. The problem is that
the music is too engaging to be soundtrack music (you know--music you put on
and then ignore) and too challenging for a casual listen. As with any
listening experience though, this will be relative to the taste of the
OrphanEndorphinDolphinDorsalFin is a remarkable debut for ROBBERS and one
can only hope they continue to make such excellent music in the future.
While it may not be a record for all occasions, it is certainly worthy of
having on hand for when the right moment comes along.
For more info on this record and the band, please visit
Written By: Phil D.