FolkWords Reviews

‘Half Way Up’ debut EP from Rob Richings - the sense that you’re sharing something special

(October 13, 2015)

There are are few more life-changing events than a close call with death. Three life-saving operations later, Rob Richings is, in his own words, ‘thriving’ … it’s more than enough to change rob richings debut ep front-coveryour perspective on life. His debut EP ‘Half Way Up’ is a simple statement to how changing perceptions result in an experience that enables the man to write some riveting songs. And in the way of those EPs that make you wish they were longer, ‘Half Way Up’ leaves you wanting to hear more from Rob Richings.

Here is a talent for startlingly sharp and perceptive lyrics, an ear for a lingering melody and the creation of memorable hooks. It’s arguable that songs about such life-changing circumstances could touch on the maudlin as they evolve out of self-examination, not a bit of it. The songs on ‘Half Way Up’ are positive in their messages and stories but they move into a wider appeal that takes them way beyond introspection into pointed observation that communicates directly with the listener. The EP opens with Richings’ crystal-clear voice telling an essential story through the piano-led ‘Half Way Up’ then moves into ‘Richer Man’ an upbeat almost folk-pop unadorned look at the troubles and issues of suburban life – unemployment, injustice and insecurity.  There’s a closeness to this EP that puts listener, singer and song in the same place.

The observational lyrics hold a certain magic, storytelling for certain, revelations too and the sense that you’re sharing something special with the performer, listen to ‘Carnival’ to hear what I mean.  The EP closes with ‘Lord In the Attic’, written in Amsterdam the 17th century Amstelkring museum once home to clandestine Roman Catholic services. According to Richings “… this amazingly peaceful and spiritual place. I was able to sit and write the entire song in my head, imagining these people creeping up the stairs to worship. It was an incredible experience.” And that’s exactly how I feel about this EP … an incredible experience.

When a man writes this profoundly there has to be more. So when comes the album?

Find Rob Richings and ‘Half Way Up’ here: www.robrichings.com and November tour dates here: www.folkwords.com/folknews

Review: Tim Carroll

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