Angel Air 2018
Free agent at last: Black Country guitarist soars in in the Spanish skies to gown in glory.
For decades, the legend of Robin George was tightly tied in with the names of singers he played with yet, with this album’s deliberately slapdash cover a statement of self-sufficiency, the British axeman is embracing a long-sought liberty here. Not for nothing the listener is treated not only to artfully rough performances – the only other instrumentalist on the record being esteemed drummer Charlie Morgan – but also to a new version of the perennial anthem “Go Down Fighting”: sped up and stripped of erstwhile glitter in favor of equally gripping grit.
There’s a serrated edge to his sharp riffs, the power chords of opener “Wild Eyed Beauty Queen” underpinning Robin’s harsh critique of the world’s ways which seeps through his sneering delivery. Perhaps, it’s good that George’s voice is shot now because, as a result, his songwriting skills float to the surface and easily flow towards infectious pop waters to fill the flamenco-tinctured title track. Its tentative drama and delicious tension turn “Play Nice” into a small epic, while “rogue angels” are referenced in “Surreal Dream” again, creating a concept context.
Never a stranger to playful rocking, the veteran may let it rumble on “Rush” whose bluesy curlicues abate to bare the piece’s acoustic lining and then make room for a slider’s rolling up and down the fretboard and into the multi-layered funk of “Dangerous Daisy” where various six-string approaches rule the day. Yet showing-off isn’t part of this albums agenda as the Delta meander of “Love Is Blind” suggests, leaving Robin George not in the throes of "Painful Kiss" but on the wayward wing.