'Take A Stand' is the debut album from Belfast man Robb Murphy who describes his music as 'Pop Electronic and Acoustic' with the album being as mixed as that sounds.
I've listened to 'Take a Stand' by Robb Murphy about twenty times in the last number of weeks and I still don't have a clue what to think as I'm writing this. However as it's causing a major backlog of albums for me to review on the blog I'm going to go straight into it.
'Take a Stand' is as varied an album as they can come with some excellent tunes while there some potentially good songs ruined by the inclusion of unnecessary noises. The album begins well with the upbeat 'Further Higher' with second song 'On My Side' being one of the excellent tracks on the album. It's a fine indie track with hand claps, catchy lyrics, glockenspiel, strings and great vocals.
The other standout track for me is the acoustic 'Love in Abundance' which finds Robb's vocals over a gentle riff with piano and backing vocals. It's a simple but effective formula for this excellent love song as the lyrics carry the track.
Some songs begin well like 'Noises' but becomes unpleasant by backing track material and clearly electronic drumbeats. 'Questions' belongs completely to the Electronic genre and is a million miles from the good tracks discussed above. 'What Do I Say' has the ability to be a great track if it was left in the acoustic format. To be fair there is an exception on the track 'I'll Follow' which manages to get the balance of acoustic merging into electronic right.
I think the real problem I have with 'Take A Stand' is that there's no clear identity to the album on a whole. If feels as if the talented Robb Murphy has reinterpreted popular sounds and songs and packaged them together rather than going with his gut instincts and keeping with a sound that works. For me the sound that works is the acoustic folk sounds.
Robb Murphy - Take A Stand [7 out of 12]