On their debut album Homecoming, the Keith Robinson Band aimed to create a report that was true to Southern Arizona—however prevented 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 could be attributed to frontman Keith Robinson’s lyrics leaping between style conventions and extra summary themes—and hell, even a mellotron made its means in between the acoustic guitars and desert imagery.
The album opens with “Misplaced In House,” a rock track a lot within the borderlands vein, with fuzzy guitars and driving drums. Nevertheless, it avoids sounding too acquainted because of Robinson’s philosophical background: finding out Nietzsche and Heidegger at Fuller Seminary.
Within the opener, Robinson sings about Judas and asks the Lord to point out him the best way, reflecting a form of existential vertigo within the Sonoran solar. The next observe, “Psalm 151,” shifts kinds in favor of a sparse acoustic intro, slowly progressing as devices take part. It’s a fragile and beautiful setting for Robinson to sing over: “My malaise has gotten out of hand… It’s a compromised promised land stuffed with all these gospel songs.”
“We tried to steadiness the report for listeners by organising dynamics and ranging the instrumentation for several types of songs,” Robinson mentioned. “On the similar time we sprinkled some musical parts all through the report to attempt to give it a unified really feel relatively than only a haphazard assortment of songs; the choosy stuff in ‘Psalm 151’ is echoed within the selecting sample within the closing track, ‘Homecoming,’ as an example. And the fuzz guitar in ‘Misplaced in House’ will get a reprise later within the album in ‘Ocean Walker.’”
These diversified sounds are helped with almost each performer serving as a multi-instrumentalist: Robinson performs guitar, sings and performs some extra 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 periods. This isolation and issue is current in a number of tracks, however Robinson wrote nearly all of the songs earlier than COVID was in our collective vocabulary. That is mirrored within the album cowl, balancing saguaros on one aspect 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 report, however every thing was placed on delay. Whereas ready, Robinson wrote two tracks impressed by the pandemic, which made their means into the recording periods at St. Cecilia Studios in August, with Tracy as engineer.
“It could have been tone-deaf, we thought, to report an album throughout such world upheaval with out alluding to the pandemic in any respect,” Robinson mentioned. “Everybody was cautious of COVID, so the August periods had been restricted to a good little group—Steven, myself, bassist Evan Wagner, and drummer Dani Ponce. No girlfriends, buddies, 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 periods to the very fact the band had further rehearsal time on account of COVID delays—although this time each helped and hindered.
“In April I used to be in a foul means. I had terrible bouts of insomnia, I wasn’t consuming, I used to be minimize off from virtually all human interplay, I by no means knew what day of the week it was, and in my head it usually felt just like the world was ending,” Robinson mentioned. “That have bled into the songs. The report, 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. Demise 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—akin to when Robinson echoes Heraclitus’ adage that you just “can’t 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 report actually incorporates some bleak moments,” Robinson mentioned. “However my hope is that the gloom contributes to the sweetness relatively than detracting from it.”