ROBIN TROWER – Where Are You Going To

Manhatton 2016

ROBIN TROWER - Where Are You Going To

ROBIN TROWER –
Where Are You Going To

Casting a glance to the bridge of sighs, British blues stalwart ponders his path on this mortal coil and other life choices.

There’s no question at the end of this album’s title, because the answer is on its cover – ascending line of doors being less allegorical than the geometry of yore – but “Till I Reach Home” that rounded off 2014’s “Something’s About To Change” shaped the way up as a process rather than one of possible ports of call. It’s also a matter of personal choice, and not for nothing Robin Trower opted to become a sole singer on his last records which gives them an intimate vibe, the most fitting type of conversation in the field of blues – or Elysian fields for that matter.

Tender delivery, not vocal strength, is what matters in the anguished hope of the old-timey “We Will Be Together Someday” where Trower is talking to his late wife, yet it doesn’t mean Robin’s accepted this path of fate, with translucent opener “When Will The Next Blow Fall” holding a shadow of the artist’s erstwhile defiance. Lyrically, it may hark back to “Little Bit Of Sympathy” and “Too Rolling Stoned” but the road that led the veteran here has made him vulnerable, while his riffs, fused into bass, hardened to carry the resolute rumination of “Jigsaw” and envelope the title track’s molten rumination.

It’s not a sad record, though, as an unhurried funk is fed into “The Fruits Of Your Desire” and “Ain’t No Use To Worry” whose shuffle is crowned with a catchy chorus, yet Robin’s call to remain calm “when your time has come” gets undercut in the quiet rage of the “Delusion Sweet Delusion” finale. Still, anxiety can be one of those things Trower’s willing to get rid of in “I’m Holding On To You”: the most traditionally sculpted blues on display, this piece finds the artist return to the non-musical constant of his life – love. That’s where he’s going to; that’s the ultimate route for all of us to follow.

****1/4

May 4, 2016

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