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Robin O’Brien

The Empty Bowl (Luxotone)

By • Nov 3rd, 2011 • Category: Album review

Even by O’Brien’s previous standards, this is an intensely romantic piece of work. O’Brien has spoken of this work in the press as ‘a private romantic obsession of a middle-aged artist with her younger muse’ and she’s not joking. Everything is laid bare here.

And it’s all lain bare with the sparest of words and the starkest of melodies. O’Brien is an advocate of the “less is more” school and it works in her favour. Emotion oozes out of her soft yet muscular voice, enticing you in.

This voice is offset by guitar work that is spiky and snappy. No room for self-indulgent solos here; instead, every tune has been moulded and honed to its’ very finest point, so there’s no room for fat and none here to speak of.

Haunting and uplifting are two very overused words but they fit perfectly here. O’Brien’s voice peaks and soars in all the right places, carrying you with it on a journey of love, hope, pain and discovery, to which we can all, somehow, relate.

There’s no room for fat on this record. O’Brien says what she means about love, life and loss in short, sharp bursts, which are soothed only by the gentle (and sometimes, not so gentle) strumming of an acoustic guitar.
The Weave - The Empty Bowl

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