Robert Lane - "Only A Flight Away"

Only a Flight Away Cover.jpgTrack listing....
1) The Hundred House
2) Man Of The Moment
3) Baby Knows
4) Right By My Side
5) Far Too Busy
6) The Instigator
7) Take As Long As You Need
8) Hoping For Anything (But You)
9) The Hundred House (Reprise)
10) Bill Frost's Flying Machine
11) Who Do You Think You're Talking For

Birmingham based Robert Lane's next album Only A Flight Away is due for release on 27th April. The album's lead track Hoping for Anything (But You) appears in the latter half of the release and, unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure that the song really 'works'. The overall sound fails to play to Robert's strengths in my opinion, ultimately leaving the listener with a track that ends up feeling a little messy and uncomfortable.

Disappointingly Far Too Busy just feels odd. The production choices have done nothing for the song and it actually becomes a moment that I have regularly just found myself wanting to skip past. There are a couple of promising moments here but generally Far Too Busy sounds quite uncomfortable and grating, in particular due to a re-occuring, drone type sound which highlights a distinctly negative experience.

Alternatively, album closer Who Do You Think You're Talking For is one of the strongest tracks on the release. A folk influenced tune with a relatively stripped back instrumentalisation, the song allows more of a focus on Robert's confident, comfortable vocal and makes for a distinctly more pleasurable listening experience. The instrumental combination of just Robert and a guitar works really well also, the guitar offering a solid accompaniment without being too over-bearing.

Penultimate track Bill Frost's Flying Machine is another strong inclusion on the release. I was immediately intrigued by the title upon first encountering this album and, ultimately, the song is well-rounded and compelling. Opening with a relatively lengthy instrumental, I actually found myself feeling like that instrumental worked really well and served to introduce the song, which then sees the same instrumental hook re-appear regularly. Grounded by another solid vocal from Robert, Bill Frost's Flying Machine is exactly the type of track where Robert is at his strongest.

The tracks showcased on Only A Flight Away are, in my opinion, quite a mixed bag in terms of their overall strength and success. This is not to say that Robert isn't a talented artist, it ultimately comes down to the various choices that were made when crafting this release. Whilst truthfully this isn't an album I can see myself returning to frequently, I would urge anyone who enjoys more of a folk/Americana sound to have an investigate and I will certainly continue to follow Robert's music.