Thursday, October 27, 2011

Album Review: "Double Capricorn" by Robert Schwartzman

 

Robert Schwartzman is capable of producing many different types of music. From the classic rock sound so prevalent in the first two Rooney albums, to the folkier sound of later Rooney and the JR & jr ep, to the 80s synth sounds featured on his Solobob single and the track he produced for Miles Fisher, Scwartzman can vary his styles enough to pass for several different musicians. This genre-shifting talent is perfectly showcased on Double Capricorn, which slides through sounds seamlessly to create something that definitely sounds great.

The album opener is one of my favorite tracks, "Out Of My Mind," which has a very vibrant beat and a great 80s sound. It's catchy and singable, and starts off a vibe that continues through most of the album; one that suggests these songs for summer driving with the windows down. Schwartzman continues with "Second Chances," a song that wouldn't have felt very out of place on the second Rooney album, apart from the fact that it has a more developed maturity to it. "Someone 2 Love" has a nice sound to it, but the half-rhymes and sometimes the complete absence of rhymes leave me a little annoyed (i.e.: "If you've got a problem with the way I wanna kiss // Well you can't turn every moment together into a little fairytale"). "You Don't Have to Lie" manages to sound very modern, with touches of MGMT, but while still retaining some sounds from Calling the World.

From here, the album moves into "Innermission," a short instrumental piece which explains why I thought the album seemed even shorter than its sparse ten tracks. "Innermission" flows smoothly into "I Know Why" and the album begins to take a sharper turn toward the sound of the 70s. "Love Is All Around" is another catchy track with a retro sound. The synths and drums are very reminiscent of the 70s, but not in a negative way. The album is led toward a close with "Just a Dream Away," which reminds me a little of the lovechild of ELO and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The final track, probably my second favorite, is "All My Life," which for some reason sounds like The Beatles as a dream-pop band.

This album does feel a little short to me, in part because I have been spoiled by listening to artists who cram their albums to the max. However, when it circles around to the beginning again, the songs don't feel old or annoying. On the third and fourth listens at least, the songs still feel fresh and bright. My main complaints have to do with the CD sleeve not containing a track listing, but I suppose the titles are unimportant as long as you know what you're listening to. If you take a gander at the liner notes, you will note that almost every sound you hear on this record was produced by Schwartzman (excluding the drums on "Someone to Love" and "I Know Why"). That in itself is pretty impressive, not only for Scwartzman, but for the modern music model in general.

If you're on the fence about whether or not to buy this album, I would just like to point out that this album was released on Robert Schwartzman's own label, California Dreamin' Records, and that all profits go to the Tibetan Healing Fund. So, y'know, you'll be helping out yourself and someone else. Just a point of note.
 
Robert Schwartzman is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.  
Double Capricorn is his debut solo album.

Double Capricorn can be purchased  here.