Robocobra Quartet, ''80-'88'
Info: Robocobra Quartet are a Belfast four-piece who have just released their new E.P., BOMBER, a contemporary spoken-word jazz recording that adds elements of experimental hip-hop and (in a good way) sleazy 70's sounds. In their own words; 'Robocobra Quartet's BOMBER EP features four songs tied together musically and lyrically, based around a fictional character involved in a failed assassination attempt. Inspired by the stories of figures such as John Hinckley Jr. & Samuel Byck, the EP references a number of real-world events, related literature and social phenomena.'
Listening to this E.P. I was struck by a few key elements which form the foundations of it's appeal, firstly, Chris Ryan's spoken vocals are probably what every teacher hoped their pupils would sound like when they were reading poetry in the classroom, 'try and express the meaning the poet is trying to convey' they said to us, and, much to their frustration, we read Yeats in monotone wondering had our parents packed us plain red cheddar sandwiches for the 3,467th time in 10 years. Secondly I really, really enjoyed the two saxophones on this E.P., tiny pings of Steve McQueen ripping around San Francisco in Bullet, but also a hair-raising forthrightness that pulls you into their sound, see the whirlwind jazz explosion that is ''80-'88' above, which has an amazing finale.
Robocobra Quartet, 'Wicker Bar'
Robocobra Quartet's sounds for me is tied up in contemporary acts, somewhere in between New York artist El-P and Toronto act BADBADNOTGOOD's 'Earl' whilst also retaining roots of the masters such as Rollins, Davis and Mingus for example. This is particularly evident on 'Wicker Bar' above, a wistful track which features additional choral background vocals from singers Patrick Gardiner and Sean Joseph. 'Flickering Blinds', which closes the E.P., immerses itself more in the hip-hop side of proceedings and sees the band go fully off the leash, the sax is again powerful here and the drumming is perfect. I haven't even mentioned the opener ''98-'01' which naturally was the first song I listened to and immediately caught my attention, it's a proper beaut and in some ways BOMBER feels like one long 13 minute track that steps into each of it's four phases subtly without losing it's train of thought. It's different, it's enjoyable and it's pretty brilliant.
Look / Like & Listen:
02/05 - Twisted Pepper, Dublin, IE
10/07 - Swell Festival, Donegal, IE
24/07 - Knockanstockan Festival, Wicklow, IE
01/08 - Sunflower Festival, Hillsborough, UK
04/09 - Electric Picnic Festival, Co. Laois, IE