Robin Adams has been making brilliant music for a few years now but is still an unfamiliar name to many. It seems the Glaswegian songwriter’s talents are starting to draw increasing attention however, as his new album is being released with the help of an Emerging Excellence grant from Help Musicians UK.
Many of the songs on ‘The Garden’ are inspired by Vincent Van Gogh with allusions to his life scattered throughout the lyrics. On ‘Paint Me the Day’ Adams sings ‘Come Paint me the day/bring all the beauty you found on your way’ in one of the album’s most affecting songs.
Not all of ‘The Garden’ is about the painter however. ‘Street’ is about the harshness of homelessness, with Adams warning “Your heart is made of paper / your life is made of glass/so beware of those that reach for you/to tear-up and to smash. There is also a meditation on the horror of war on ‘Right To Run’ with the song imploring “Let not your heart turn to stone for your brother / Let not the lines on a map draw your gun”.
The delicate arpeggios of ‘Holy Smoke’ are an undoubted standout, as is a new recording of ‘Need Not Turn’ which appeared on the digital version of previous release ‘Wilt’ but fits here perfectly. ‘Collision Course’ has the bittersweet feel of much of the material on his ‘Be Gone’ album and serves as a fittingly stunning conclusion.
While comparisons can be made with songwriters like Nick Drake and John Martyn, Robin Adams has a fully-formed, expressive style that is all his own. ‘The Garden’ is a nourishing, poetic album of beauty and soul. Seek it out.