Influenced by the sounds of Jeff Buckley, Otis Redding, Tom Waits and John Martyn, UK-based Rob Quo certainly is a diverse melting pot of sounds. I guess this diversity occurs when a mish-mash of collaborators come together and share their musical experiences. Personally, I think it is fantastic to share musical styles and create something truly unique. The thing is, who is Rob Quo?
A collaboration between various musicians, Rob Quo is a fivesome with a lot of heart, passion and sophistication. Joining Rob in his latest project (this specific EP to be reviewed), we hear Sam Crooks (bass and double-bass), Alex Chalstrey (keys and organ), Simeon Dallas (backing vocals), Gus White (drums and percussion). Featured by various blogs like Ear To Th Ground, The Other Side Reviews, Sinusoidal Music, Fatea Magazine and many others, Rob Quo is reaching audiences across the globe. So, let’s have a look at the EP Let It Spin, shall we?
A combination of jazz, folk and soul sounds with a twinge of indie-rock, Let It Spin showcases a musician’s eclectism at its peak. From the obscure opening track ‘Ain’t Even Liv’d’ to the flowing closer ‘Single-Minded’, Rob connects with audiences of various genre preferences. While one might consider Let It Spin to be a guitar-driven album, I find the melodic arrangement to give each instrument prominence before coming together as a united whole. It is this that not only illustrates the skill of each musician but also contributes to the theme of the EP – life.
Described by Fatea Magazine as having “…a particular gift lyrically writing with a simple elegance”, Rob Quo showcases his sophistication, depth and engaging songwriting skill. An exploration of the human spirit and existential truths, Let It Spin touches on elements of truth, conflict, frustration, anxiety, vulnerability, angst and finally, acceptance. Moreover, the instrumentation effortlessly enhances the message of each single and adds poignancy to the material.
Rob Quo shares that “…there is a little something for everyone in this recording”, and I have to agree it takes a deeper look at everyone in style and soul. Obscurity in ‘Ain’t Even Liv’d’ knocks us into considering how we might be “doing life wrong”, which is closely followed by the need for acknowledgement of this significant fact in ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout The Truth’. Romance and relationships are explored in ‘This House’, ‘Say No More’ and ‘Single-Minded’ as Rob touches on a search for satisfaction, unhealthy relationships and growing old alone – topics that are important but difficult to face.
What I find intriguing is how the melody seems to represent the message in each track. For instance, ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout The Truth’ has a head-bopping vibe showcasing a personal sense of acceptance. Yet, ‘Single-Minded’ has a muted, Jeff Buckley-esque attitude making you really feel the melancholic understanding that “…it becomes apparent that it’s tainted your ability to form healthy relationships with those around you.”
Rich, bold and moving, particularly with the interspersed female vocals adding a tinge of haunting, Let It Spin definitely breaks boundaries in style and sound. It is profound, intense, intimate and inspiring (in a strange way) as Rob tells us we are not alone in our turmoil. I recommend the EP and the artist to anyone and everyone I know.