On their debut album, Homecoming, the Keith Robinson Band aimed to create a document that was true to Southern Arizona—however averted sounding “native.” In some ways they succeeded. Whereas by no means straying removed from a folks/rock template, a lot of the album’s singularity might be attributed to frontman Keith Robinson’s lyrics leaping between style conventions and extra summary themes—and hell, even a mellotron made its manner in between the acoustic guitars and desert imagery.
The album opens with “Misplaced In Area,” a rock tune a lot within the borderlands vein, with fuzzy guitars and driving drums. Nonetheless, it avoids sounding too acquainted due to Robinson’s philosophical background: learning Nietzsche and Heidegger at Fuller Seminary.
Within the opener, Robinson sings about Judas and asks the Lord to point out him the way in which, reflecting a form of existential vertigo within the Sonoran solar. The next observe, “Psalm 151,” shifts types in favor of a sparse acoustic intro, slowly progressing as devices take part. It is a delicate and beautiful setting for Robinson to sing over: “My malaise has gotten out of hand… It is a compromised promised land stuffed with all these gospel songs.”
“We tried to stability the document for listeners by organising dynamics and ranging the instrumentation for several types of songs,” Robinson stated. “On the identical time we sprinkled some musical parts all through the document to attempt to give it a unified really feel moderately than only a haphazard assortment of songs; the choosy stuff in ‘Psalm 151’ is echoed within the choosing sample within the closing tune, ‘Homecoming,’ as an illustration. And the fuzz guitar in ‘Misplaced in Area’ will get a reprise later within the album in ‘Ocean Walker.'”
These various sounds are helped with practically each performer serving as a multi-instrumentalist: Robinson performs guitar, sings and performs some further percussion; Evan Wagner performs bass and electrical guitar plus percussion; Steven Tracy performs piano, organ and mellotron; and Dani Ponce sticks to the drumkit, although his power serves a number of roles.
Launched within the closing days of 2020, the pandemic delayed and complex Homecoming’s recording classes. This isolation and issue is current in a number of tracks, however Robinson wrote the vast majority of the songs earlier than COVID was in our collective vocabulary. That is mirrored within the album cowl, balancing saguaros on one facet and tombstones on the opposite, and in lyrics like “I noticed an angel within the desert solar / A crystal hourglass empties quick / I used to stroll on the forest flooring / Current all the time turns into the previous.”
In March 2020, the band had a batch of songs able to document, however every part was placed on delay. Whereas ready, Robinson wrote two tracks impressed by the pandemic, which made their manner into the recording classes at St. Cecilia Studios in August, with Tracy as engineer.
“It will have been tone-deaf, we thought, to document an album throughout such world upheaval with out alluding to the pandemic in any respect,” Robinson stated. “Everybody was cautious of COVID, so the August classes had been restricted to a good little group—Steven, myself, bassist Evan Wagner, and drummer Dani Ponce. No girlfriends, pals, or outsiders allowed. We recorded the entire album in simply three days—granted, three lengthy days—with one other day-and-a-half dedicated to mixing and last-second changes.”
Robinson credit these fast and profitable classes to the very fact the band had additional rehearsal time attributable to COVID delays—although this time each helped and hindered.
“In April I used to be in a foul manner. I had terrible bouts of insomnia, I wasn’t consuming, I used to be minimize off from nearly all human interplay, I by no means knew what day of the week it was, and in my head it typically felt just like the world was ending,” Robinson stated. “That have bled into the songs. The document, in different phrases, is just not making any grand, definitive pronouncements about whether or not life is price dwelling or whether or not God exists. These questions are up for grabs. The lyrics are extra merely simply an expression of how I used to be feeling on the time. Dying appeared imminent, throughout me, so I wrote materials reflecting what that felt like.”
Although themes of loss permeate the album, the nice and cozy instrumentals and broader philosophical traces—similar to when Robinson echoes Heraclitus’ adage that you just “cannot step in the identical river twice”—mix for an album that’s true to Southern Arizona, and undoubtedly true to the world past that.
“The document definitely incorporates some bleak moments,” Robinson stated. “However my hope is that the gloom contributes to the wonder moderately than detracting from it.”