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Robert LaneRobert Lane
Album: Ends And Starts
Label: Fish
Tracks: 7

Robert Lane is making a bit of a splash across social and other media just now, due to en engaging manner and a lively presence. This somewhat mystifyingly short release is launched during a series of gigs, stretching from Bracknell to Sunderland to Germany, attesting to his ability to move around the country with guitar in hand. Robert is clearly a hit with various presenters on local radio on his home-patch.

The bare seven tracks presented here vary significantly in style. Title track has a full band sound (though played only by Robert and producer Matthew Pinfield), and reminds me of a 70s pop/rock hit from Andrew Gold or David Dundas. "It Feels Like 5,000 Miles" is a song of the road, rubato guitar, under a sombre lament to missing family. "Break My Heart Blues", which is a bare 12-bar featuring guitar and vocals, feels somewhat throwaway, and given the scarcity of tracks on display, I do question whether it was worthy of inclusion. "Wilful Independent" is another address to family, wryly noting the inability to control children, and no doubt remembering having been the same. It almost reminds me of solo Syd Barrett in some respects, though clearly much less unrestrained.

"Teardrop Tattoo" is a strange little song, sung by a psychopath in Robert Lane's pleasant voice, and more unsettling because of it. He is no Nick Cave, but do we need more Nick Cave impersonators when dealing with the banality of evil? "Alone Now" is another band song, featuring a nice lead guitar and Robert in almost John Lennon ("Double Fantasy" period) mode. Closing instrumental "Mary's Theme" rounds of the - EP? - pleasantly.

I am still left questioning what this disc is about. As a 5-track EP it would have made more sense, assuming Robert wished to get some material out without waiting for the wherewithal to record and release a full album. I'm sure he'll pick up more aficionados on the road, and hopefully a more substantial product will be on its way soonish.

Harry Thomson