Album: Rich Robinson

Paper, COMPADRE
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The Independent Culture

If the former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson can't find a British outlet for his solo albums, you have to wonder what makes his brother Rich believe there's a market over here for his own side-project. Particularly since Paper is an archetypal guitarist-sidekick's album, full of riffs and widdly solos, none of which remains in the memory for much more than a nanosecond. The most obvious problem is Rich's vocals, the weakness of which he's attempted to disguise by multi-tracking bland harmonies in the style of the Grateful Dead's country-rock period, which sit uncomfortably among the languid boogies, desultory blues, grim grunge riffs, and even the two or three bouts of folksy strummage that make up Paper. His lyrics, too, are utterly artless, and not in a good way - "Yes, you are my baby tonight/ Yes, I really love you/ Yes, you make me happy" is typical - while the overly circuitous melodies simply evaporate into the aether, leaving no trace. At its best, his material is pleasantl

If the former Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson can't find a British outlet for his solo albums, you have to wonder what makes his brother Rich believe there's a market over here for his own side-project. Particularly since Paper is an archetypal guitarist-sidekick's album, full of riffs and widdly solos, none of which remains in the memory for much more than a nanosecond. The most obvious problem is Rich's vocals, the weakness of which he's attempted to disguise by multi-tracking bland harmonies in the style of the Grateful Dead's country-rock period, which sit uncomfortably among the languid boogies, desultory blues, grim grunge riffs, and even the two or three bouts of folksy strummage that make up Paper. His lyrics, too, are utterly artless, and not in a good way - "Yes, you are my baby tonight/ Yes, I really love you/ Yes, you make me happy" is typical - while the overly circuitous melodies simply evaporate into the aether, leaving no trace. At its best, his material is pleasantly inconsequential, like the psychedelic rock closer "It's Over"; at its worst, tracks such as "Leave It Alone" and "Places" are little more than sour, bombastic trudges. But ultimately, the lack of a strong central defining vocal character dooms the album - after all, if Rich can't feign interest in what he's singing, why should we?

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