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CD REVIEW: Robin Horlock Band - EP
By Chip Withrow - 12/26/2006 - 01:45 PM EST

Artist: Robin Horlock Band
Album: EP
CD Review: I’m often a fan of music that leans toward rock but still has a folksy acoustic touch – Goo Goo Dolls and Sister Hazel come to mind as bands who have done it well. And the Robin Horlock Band does a fine job of it on this five-song disc.

Starting with the acoustic-guitar-over-feedback intro to “Why Do I?,” Horlock exhibits a dramatic flair in the catchy rock-with-mass-appeal he and his band have crafted. The second track, “Never Be Alone,” is even hookier and more evocative, with Horlock’s falsetto and nice flourishes of piano and synthesized strings.

“Conspiracy of He” is the heaviest number. It reminds me of one of my favorite crunchy rock songs of all time, “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three.

But I think the Horlock Band is truly in its element on songs like “Never Be Alone” and “Sleepwalker.” “Sleepwalker” is my favorite cut, with interesting chord progressions that give it a soulful feel. It best shows off the band as an ensemble, and Horlock’s vocal range works superbly (nice background vocals at the end, too).

The closer “Harder Than Hell” has a jangly groove and a nifty guitar solo. The bass-driven jam seems designed as a show-ender in which each musician can step up. Then the song ends powerfully and even too quickly (at a live show the band could really stretch this out as a finale).

As a band leader, Horlock has all the goods – emotive vocals, propulsive acoustic strumming, songwriter’s ear for what sounds good both in a club and in your car. He once put out a full-length disc with other players, and I’d like to hear him put out some more songs like the five here with his current band.

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