ep review ~ 'bomber' ~ robocobra quartet

Name: Robocobra Quartet
Genre: Baroque-Punk
For Fans Of: Allen Ginsberg, Anne Sexton
Location: Belfast

Oh what I wouldn't give to be one of them. 

To be tied to bohemia's wrist like a lover. To carry books of gravitas down rain splashed side streets. Staring through  every cloud, as my racing mind pours over man (un)kinds greatest musings.To find coffee shops surrounded by books and people who can explain to me why Schrödinger's Cat maybe never died at all. 

This is how I like to imagine the lives of Robocobra Quartet, a four piece no longer shrouded in the mystic veil of 'what's going on here!?'. 

The quirk has died, and alongside it any chance of new Ep 'Bomber' riding off it's predecessor's wit and charm. Choosing a lone marksman as it's protagonist, (note, those hoping for a coming of age//romantic prose may give up now. "Where do the ducks go?" Who the hell cares!) each track on this short release chronicles a story caught somewhere between fantasy and reality.  

'98-01' acts as a bridge from the band's explosive beginnings, as frontman Chris Ryan lays down the type of visceral word-play with which his group have thrived. The electronic sweep percolating it's opening bars is a refreshing change of pace, and though it's unlikely to be a homage to the early 2000's, remains appropriate none the less. Better still, Ryan's trademark delivery continues to evolve here; each gasp, pause and tongue tied soliloquy landing verbal blows to the listener ~ even if you are made to wait for that knock out punch. The premature ending of this song's brilliant, brass breakdown is the only slight frustration on a great opening.

Following on and 'Wicker Bar' see's Robocobra's groove return, Nathan Rogers' bass riff acting as the catalyst for the first real display of Ryan's arsenal of one-liners.

"It pumps 42 million times year round...and I suppose I broke my heart in a literal sense'

As vital to the story as 'Wicker Bar' undoubtedly is, it's this songs flawless transition into the fantastic '80-88' which remains it's most endearing quality. This is despite some fine, synth like effects lurking just beneath the flow of drummer-come-frontman Ryan. By contrast '80-88' is a darker wave of menacing bass, powerful vocals and tension building saxophone. Whilst such theories are often confined to the musical dustbin, it's worth mentioning that there's something distinctly 'Cold War' about this particular song's dark undertones and palpable uncertainty. Are we wrong with that assumption? Almost certainly ~ but that's not the point, keep up!

Final track 'Flickering Blinds' finds our musical hero's at their raw, emotive best. A tune already given a run out in the auspicious confines of the Mandela Hall, this closing number acts brilliantly within or without 'Bomber's patchwork narrative. As close to a musical cliffhanger as sonically possible, Ryan's farewell to his audience see's him proclaim "I watch through flickering blinds...I watch through flickering blinds...". Neither triumphant, or definitive, this final act brings proceedings to the open-ended climax it was crying out for. 

Though not a particularly massive leap away from what we know make's them great, 'Bomber' does answer one vital question. The faith remains. Robocobra Quartet are not short of ideas. 

Sequels rarely outperform their original counterparts. As Robocobra Quartet continue to improve however, 'Bomber 2' may just prove the exception to the rule. If they choose to return here, that is...

Taylor Johnson

'Bomber' is released April 21st

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