For Devonian songwriter James Robinson, the decision to leave behind the comfort of his touring band, and friends, was a tough one to make. Fronting Brighton-based, alt-pop band Two Spot Gobi, Robinson found success touring the UK, USA and Europe in support of household names such as Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars. Something wasn’t clicking for him though, and his focus slowly shifted toward other was to express himself through music. He was growing up.
Deciding to look at the positives, and see it as a chance to raid his own personal treasure trove of lyrics scribbled on napkins while on tour, ideas saved into smartphones and forgotten melodies locked away in old Garage Band files, he set about following up 2012’s ‘Ropes’ EP, bringing these pieces up to date with fresh inspiration and new production direction. Holing up in the studio with Fink and Lily Allen producer Max Gilkes, new life was breathed into the first songs to emerge, eventually culminating in what would become ‘Start a Fire’. Robinson’ offers his own thoughts on the result: “At times it’s energetic and hopeful, other times it’s a little more pragmatic and cynical but creatively speaking it’s where I find myself currently – somewhere in between. It’s real, and I hope people will grasp that”.
The title track’s bustling percussion offers a brisk glimpse into Robinson’s thoughtful world but the centrepiece here is the understatedly epic Holes In The Sky. What begins playful, strides assuredly on with the introduction of electric guitar and further percussion, ensuring an expansive atmosphere. EP closer Smoke & Ashes, contrastingly, feels totally personal. We’re let into something that was perhaps meant for one person to hear - something for a troubled soul. It’s this that Robinson excels at. He sets the scene wonderfully and, under Gilkes skilful production, brings images to life and creates a mood to get lost in, with one eye firmly focussed on melody.
The Start A Fire EP will be released on December 1st.