I’m always pleasantly surprised when solo artists turn out to be nice and rocky, and this much is true of London-based singer/songwriter Andrew Robert. The solo musician’s sound is packed full of soaring vocals, rip-roaring riffs, infectious melodies and sing-along choruses.
As Andrew tells us: “I taught myself to play drums, guitar, piano and to sing in my teens, and once I had plucked up the confidence to pursue my music dream, and to go on stage as a proper performer, I decided to look for other musicians in my local town of Shrewsbury. We wrote, performed nationally, and recorded together, but after a few years, and various problems, I decided to break up the group.
“By this stage, I had found my sound and was confident in my multi-instrumental playing and production abilities, so then laid down an EP alone. After this, I moved down to London and have since recorded a string of singles and played alone, or, like at present, with a full backing band of brilliant musicians, who I am very fortunate to record and perform with.”
He’s since fused a guitar-led rock sound influenced predominantly by 90s alternative bands, as well as his love for soul music, that is portrayed in latest EP A Product Of Our Times, which was released in March.
It opens up with the lively Magnificent, which begins with a lone guitar riff then a big smash of chunky guitar chords and cries of “oh, oh, oh” that drop into a more laid-back verse with cheeky hits of cowbell (which I’m always a big fan of) between vocals and light guitars. It then explodes into a heavy chorus of driving guitars supporting big singalong vocals then closes on the big guitar chords.
A heavier second verse follows, with lazy guitar licks and guitar chords adding some intensity building up to another heavy chorus. A more chilled out section is followed by more big guitar chords, which usher in a final blast of the chorus.
That’s followed by a more relaxed intro to Squaring The Circle, which features impressive high-pitched vocals leading into a more upbeat chorus. The pace drops right down mid-way through with the lone vocals “Oh mirror mirror, Who’s the biggest bullshitter of them all, You haven’t got a leg on which to stand, Oh mirror mirror, Who’s the most lacklustre of them all? I wouldn’t want to say, No I wouldn’t want to say you,” then a cool guitar solo takes over.
The rockiness returns on the EP’s final track Limitless, which opens with guitar chords then drops into a gradually building opening verse that begins “Are you not entertained, And aren’t we all satisfied.” It builds up to a fast-paced chorus with guitars driving it forward then descending guitars giving way to a distant saxophone solo over big guitar noise. It’s a big, catchy rock ballad that brings the EP to an engaging ending.
On what inspires him to write music Andrew explains: “It is a combination of the visceral and intellectual. Initially, I found songwriting very cathartic in order to externalise a lot of my emotions and thoughts about various things that most young people go through.
“What seems to be the underlying theme is a focus on the challenges and experiences of being a young person finding their way, contextualised against the ever-changing world around us. There is a lot of social commentary and politics in my lyrics as well. Overall, there is an urgency, romantic idealism and eternal optimism in my sentiment. I try and write in a way that can be universal and all-encompassing.”
Andrew is planning to play more shows to perform new material with his backing band in the autumn both in London and hopefully nationally, while going into the studio to lay down some new recordings.