Regional accents in music can be a bone of contention, with people passionately loving or loathing a bit of a twang. Don’t judge me, but I’m a big fan of Bastille front man Dan Smith’s ‘Sarf Lahndahn’ drawl, and find The La Fontaines’ unique Scottish rapping style bizarrely appealing. In a similar vein, James Robinson brings just a hint of hometown Devon to his vocals, and it works very well (to clarify, he sounds absolutely nothing like the Wurzels, in case that’s what you’re imagining).
Starting off as front man for alt-pop band Two Spot Gobi, Robinson has now moved forward in an entirely different direction, with his solo EP Start a Fire released this week. Drawing on personal experience, and years of scribbling down lyrics and song ideas whilst on tour with the band, Start a Fire is a glorious flashback to long, lazy summer’s days.
Citing influences including Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams, Robinson’s EP is a rich, multi-layered concoction of music and poetry, which snares the listener with its immediate and powerful intimacy. I witnessed a usually hard-core and emotionally infallible friend, currently in a long distance relationship, mist up with just one play of Start a Fire, a testament to Robinson’s highly personal and affecting songwriting.
Utilising a paradoxical mix of languorous, slow building melodies, energetic choruses and intricate acoustic guitar hooks, Robinson would be insanely well suited to play Boardmasters or Barn on the Farm next summer. For all of us hippy, surfer, indie types I very much hope he gets the opportunity to do so.
Start a Fire was released 1st December 2014