Review: Robin Red – Robin Red – Frontiers Music – Release: Out Now.
Don’t get fooled by the name Robin Red. I immediately saw a red haired female singer in a tight jumpsuit before my eyes. Boy was I wrong.. (hahaha) Robin Red is also known as Robin Ericsson, who is the singer for Swedish melodic rock band Degreed. The band Degreed caught my ears when I first heard ‘Black Cat’ in 2013. I’m a fan since then and saw the band live once in Belgium in 2017 in a package with H.e.a.t. and Black Diamond. I was fond of the twists the band threw in their melodic rock. Robin was thinking about a solo album for many years and sent his demos to Frontiers Music. That resulted very quickly in an album deal. I was curious if he went on a different path….
Robin Red are:
Robin Red – lead vocals, backing vocals & bass
Dave Dalone – guitars, synthesizers, backing vocals and percussion
Mats Eriksson – drums
Erik Modin – percussion
Joan Eriksson – grand piano, background vocals
Jona Tee – organ
Petra Eriksson – background vocals
The opener ‘Don’t Leave Me’ immediately blew me away with it’s fresh sound that brings the golden times for melodic rock in mind. His warm voice is pure ear candy and the guitars from Dave Dalone (H.e.a.t.) are simply irresistible. Even Jona Tee (H.e.a.t.) is audible with subtle organ sounds. The melodic solo from Dave tops it off. And what about that calm sensitive break! Wow, all I can say is gimme more..
‘Bad Habit’ starts with a uber catchy riff and Robin sounds a bit rougher here and that fits the lyrics perfectly. The production sounds warm, full and all instruments get a part in the sounds. The end of the solo even brings the mighty Thin Lizzy in mind! Check out the percussion parts following that solo. It’s that kinda details in the song that triggers my interest.
‘Everlyn’ is granted with a guitar riff that sticks in your head and the chorus is slightly commercial with it’s harmony and background vocals. These first three songs are nearly perfect if you ask me. The piano together with keyboards (also organ) and again that guitar riff are the points of attention in the more mellow ‘Freedom’. But ‘Midnight Train’ is my favourite track, again due to that addictive riff from Dave and that uplifting chorus. ‘Can’t Get Enough’ has a more rocking structure and Robin goes to the higher regions here. We get a beautiful ballad with acoustic guitar and the voice from Robin with ‘Reason To Survive’. If I’m not mistaken I hear some snapping of fingers as well. Simply wonderful!
The sound of the songs goes back to the earlier days from H.e.a.t and ‘Nitelife’ could have been on one of those albums. The relaxed middle section is pure heaven for lovers of the genre. The following ‘Head Over Heels’ with his harmonies and snippets of pop would fit on the ‘Into The Great Unknown’ album from Dave’s band.
Robin shows some attitude in the stomper ‘Livin Dead’, but the blues inspired album closer ‘Living For’ is a real treat. It starts with the guitar from Dave, the voice from Robin and some finger clicks. Later on some percussion (do I hear the tambourine?), addition guitar and organ joins this piece of emotional loaded music. A great way to close an impressive album.
Robin sure surprised me with these dozen songs. The combination of his warm voice and the riffs from Dave Dalone are a match made in melodic rock heaven. All songs immediately sound familiar and lift your mood in a second. The cliché ‘all killer, no filler’ describes this collection best, I think. It would be more than awesome if we could hear those songs on a stage in the nearby future. Robin’s debut will certainly be in the top 3 of my albums of the year list.
Score: 4.85 out of 5
- Don’t Leave Me
- Bad Habit
- Midnight Rain
- Can’t Get Enough
- Reason To Survive
- Heart Of Stone
- Head Over Heels
- Livin Dead
- Living For
Text by Rik Bauters