Angel Air 2016
Back with experience: unexpected return from one of the finest British songsmiths.
The youngest of the Sarstedt brothers, Clive Robin – who recorded after both his names – might not be as famous as older siblings Richard, or Eden Kane, and Peter, yet he shares the same mastery of melody and words. Away from music for a long time, as there was only a collaboration with Peter on 1986’s “Asia Minor” after “You Must Remember This” that had been out six years earlier, Robin’s comeback wasn’t overdue, to say the least – nobody could hope for a new album – but he’s on a roll again, and is good at it. Mostly acoustic, with keyboard providing a delicate backdrop to an exquisite guitar strum, the pieces on “TU” are brimful with gratitude to life that’s never taken for granted, and not for nothing, opening with the artist’s own “Love Can Hurt” whose bittersweet optimism is a light at the end of memory lane, the record is resolved with Dylan’s “Forever Young” because there’s a blessing in every experience Sarstedt has gone through to tell about now.
He’s no stranger to a singer-songwriter stance, but the concise autobiography “I Just Want To Rock ‘n’ Roll” betrays a rebel under a bard’s skin, and the jagged riff of “Back Again” scratches against its tanned complacence – a deceptive kind of veneer which can be easily broken when sociopolitical affairs come into romantic play on this track or a cover of brother Peter’s “Beirut” – while Robin’s take on Ric Grech’s “Kiss The Children” adds baroque air, that Gram Parsons’ version didn’t have, to the proceedings. And if “Song For Tessa,” a ballad dedicated to Sarstedt’s late wife, is straightforwardly lyrical, “Losin’ End” cuts the deepest, whereas the determination of “Doggone” has its harmonica-oiled bluesy twang shaping a bright tomorrow – or TU-morrow – for Robin. He persevered with this music, and it’s time for him to carry on.