Music Review: Robbie Boyd – So Called Man

This review was originally published on The Doughnut.

Summer has arrived early. Yeah, really.

I can’t help but feel it despite looking out of my window to see a cloudy sky and the hint of rain in the distance heading over this way. It’s chilly and only some of the time does the sun make it out from behind those infernal British clouds.

But there’s just no doubt in my mind that summer is all around me. It must be, because Robbie Boyd’s newly released debut album ‘So Called Man’ tells me it is. Every single track has been sown together with joy that can only come from being out on a sunny day and partying like the sun will never go down. I defy anyone to listen to ‘I want you to stay’ and not feel the urge to bop away with a cheesy grin slapped on their face whatever the weather. This is feel-good on steroids.

Robbie Boyd - So Called Man

All twelve tracks abound with luscious, uplifting melodies and Boyd’s easy-on-the-ear voice is well supported with a great band and excellent studio production. Even downbeat songs like the Coldplay-esque ‘Amsterdam’ leave you gently swaying, feeling calm but in no way saddened.

I’m struggling to find a favourite track to suggest because they’re all so good. Possibly the child-like fantasy ‘Spring Generation’ or, if not, then Boyd’s single ‘Less Than Friends’ (which was released on the 12 May) which is a fascinatingly toe-tapping tale of unrequited love. It should be dark and moody; instead the song is full of hope – which pretty much sums up what this album is all about.

‘Less Than Friends’

You’re not going to find deep lyrics here which make you think about the darker sides of life (thought Boyd avoids, with ease, being trite and slushy). Instead you can blast this album out during your barbecue or party to help your guests get in the mood for the summer. Although recognised as ‘folk-driven’ don’t mistake this as music which will lull you to sleep with gentle modal melodies. No, the acoustic rock backing is in full force giving a powerful rhythmic drive which is as uplifting as the tunes themselves.

This is music to play while you tidy the house, drive to work – or better still drive home from work – and to play on a Friday in readiness for a cracking good weekend with your mates. In short, Robbie Boyd recreates the positive good-time vibes his sell-out concerts are known for making the album a must-have for summer-worshippers.

Summer has arrived. I know it is because Robbie Boyd is summer in musical form and he is here now.


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