Rich Robinson: Through A Crooked Sun

Black Crowe reinvents himself as laid-back rocker.

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Faced with divorce and financial meltdown you would expect Rich Robinson’s second album to be an opportunity to exorcise a few personal demons (that’s what solo albums are for, right?). Instead, Through A Crooked Sun, positively oozes with good karma – albeit of the melancholy variety.

Fashioned from the same classic ingredients that have made The Black Crowes so successful, the sonic palate is one that could soundtrack a top-down cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway in 1971 – but with metaphorical dreamy lyrics that recast Robinson as a tripped out rock’n’roll mystic piecing his life back together.

A huge step up from his last solo outing, 2007‘s Paper – there’s no nagging voice at the back of your head telling you it’d all sound so much better with Rich’s brother on vocals. Here his voice fits the music and mood – reminiscent of Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison on Follow You Forever.

Musically there are some wonderful moments: I Didn’t Hear The Sound Of You brilliantly travels from west coast folk rock into three minutes of bachelor pad lounge jazz; Standing On The Surface Of The Sun an epic jam that ends with a majestic rock god bellow.

Sadly the album does lag in the final third with a note-for-note cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Station Man and an Oasis album filler-style blues rock plodder Fire Around letting down a near-perfect set.