EP – Ludo – Robert Bray

Posted by admin on February 6th, 2008

There’s something undeniably comforting in listening to a story unfold via music. Without wanting to come across the wrong way, Robert Bray’s vocals remind me a lot of Billy Bragg, although not quite as laddish, but their not over refined and smoothed out. This leads to a sound that is very much a the sound of someone real, if you know what I mean. I imagine the sound we get here, is as near to a live performance as you’ll probably get on CD, without it actually being a live performance.

I have to admit, I’m coming back to this EP, after it didn’t quite gel with me first time around. As music styles develop, so do musical tastes and I know it was me at fault, which is why I just put it aside for another day. With fresh ears, I have to say I really started to get confused as to why I didn’t get it first time around.

Musically and to a certain extent vocally, I keep being reminded of Double, the Swiss band who had a hit in the 80’s with “Captain of the Heart”. A memories indeed.

Opening with “A Plague of Singer-Songwriters”, the mood is subdued with vocals very prominent and pronounced. The acoustic sound is just such a delight, with choral vocals (electronic?), really elevating the track to the next level. “The Breakers of Their Own Rules” is a much more radio friendly track, but radio friendly here means late night, mellow, as opposed to daytime pop/rock, not that that’s in anyway a criticism.

“Reasons to Consider Becoming a Hermit” features some wonderful acoustic guitar, which for some reason had me smiling, which was quite a surprise to me, when I became aware of it.

I wonder if Robert is trying to compete with the Manic Street Preachers with his verbose song titles. It’s not going to be easy to remember the name of the fourth track, “A Butterfly Caught in a Web No Longer”, in fact it’s doubly not going to be easy, as I found this probably the weakest of the tracks on the EP.

The penultimate track “Don’t Look Down” reminded me a lot of the nutty boys, Madness. The main reason for this is the piano, which is very reminiscent of Madness on their Rise and Fall album. This track is also the longest on the album at a tad over 7 minutes. With the final track “The Priestess and the Tower”, we have the final sound introduced, that of a violin, which nicely adds another dimension to the EP.

Conclusion : A wonderful acoustic sound that really comes alive with Robert’s vocals. An EP that really unwinds and reveals itself very nicely.

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