Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Summer Of Fear


4.5
superb

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
October 15th, 2009 | 59 replies | 7,753 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Do your symptoms include a distaste in your current listening, monotony perhaps? Still searching for that perfect album that speaks directly and bluntly to you? Well, trust me like your doctor, because I think I may have the perfect prescription.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson has a complicated name, and he’s created some complex, unique tunes to accompany it. It’s incredibly difficult to start a review for Summer of Fear. Difficult to define, it shifts from one overwhelming aspect to the next, until it becomes impossible to pigeonhole just what it is that makes this so special, and instead the music blends into one coherent piece that is Summer of Fear. As always, I’ll try my best to pinpoint the standouts of Robinson’s sophomore release, but I have to admit I’m a bit wary. Listening to Summer of Fear gave me the impression that the most deft of listeners, the most accurate of reviewers, would have trouble doing this piece justice. Without negating the points I have yet to make, I would like to urge each and every reader to give this a listen, for this is an album, like many of the best, that is exceptionally difficult to express simply through words.

Most of you have probably not heard Robinson’s debut, the sparse solo record produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, filled with tales of addiction and depression, so it would be futile to try and discuss his glorious evolution. I’m a little embarrassed using it, but I feel like the most apt metaphor is the cliche of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. He now resides on Saddle Creek Records and gained TV On the Radio’s Kyp Malone as a producer, but Robinson’s strengths remain strong, and he’s picked up a few things between now and then. His selfish lyrics still flutter between self-pity, self-deprecation, and painful self-examination. From scratchy howls to whispered one-liners, Robinson’s voice will hold your ears captive for 12 songs. Coupled against his insanely dark lyrics, the layers upon layers of meticulously crafted upbeat melodies give off an Elliott Smith vibe. The songwriting is a highlight, and Robinson is particularly despondent on a few of my favorite melancholy gems, “It’s a hard enough time just trying to hang myself,” “Love is a feeling you might not find with murder on your mind,” or perhaps “I don’t know anybody who couldn’t let me down.” On “Trap Door,” Miles delineates how, while though it feels like you’re at the bottom, there’s usually another trap door to follow. This record isn’t for the faint of heart; unless they’re looking for a relatable album full of passionate stories and characters that embody their very own, ultra personal feelings- in which case, they probably are.

Gone are the simple solo songs of his debut. Robinson adds more percussion, stately horns, more guitars (from his backing band made up of Grizzly Bears), and even strings to give a much more orchestrated feel to Summer of Fear. This also extends to the song structure, where Robinson isn’t afraid to experiment. His well-arranged Americana music made me want to forget everything I had heard all week, and devote the rest of time to “Always An Anchor,” “The 100th March,” “Death By Dust,” and the likes. Often building up or breaking down, the content on Summer of Fear always seems discontent, always waning or wanting. Seeming to embody this record structurally and lyrically lies discontentment. Personally, it left me searching, wondering, pondering, digging deeper into Summer of Fear. I couldn’t find a single emotion to pin to this record, but the powerful moments are undeniable. Electrifying and intense at moments, lonesome and despondent at others, the vehemence exhibited on Summer of Fear is intoxicating.

Summer of Fear is equally ambitious and likable, a deadly combination. From the sweeping strings of the 11-minute epic “More Than A Mess,” to the intimate and passionate “Summer Of Fear Pt.1,” Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson provides something new and unique with every change of the track, from the addition of female vocals, or his vocal versatility. Most notably though, it’s impossible to mention Robinson without holding his ability to keep it flowing without the hinder of speed-bump-like filler in high esteem. Summer of Fear is inspired and inspiring, the passion that flows from this record is impossible to ignore, not just on the tenth listen, but on the first. Through his unpredictable voice that can whisper and scream with equal emotion, Robinson has created a record that I’ve fallen in love with. You’ve probably already heard the accolades of Mew, Animal Collective, fun., or Mono, but I’m asking a huge favor of you. Listen to a man with little background, a man whose only head start comes from his fellow New Yorkers Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio. I’m not promising you’ll be as astounded as I am, or even as pleased. I am promising that you’ll be glad you listened, as Summer of Fear is, at least, an interesting listen, and you’re sure to find something you’ve never heard before in the man with four names, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
October 15th 2009



18818 Comments


This album made me want to go back and lower every single album I've rated in a long time by .5. I resisted giving this a 5, because I've only been listening for a few days (nonstop, though), but I fully suspect this to go up in subsequent listens.

Amazing, please please please listen.

Also, I want to do this as much justice as possible, any critiquing is welcomed, whether it be content, structure, whatever would help better convey my message.

Thanks

Ricven
October 15th 2009



207 Comments


I'm intrigued. Will check this out.

Prophet178
October 15th 2009



6397 Comments


Ehhh I listened to a few songs on the myspace, sounds alright. Can't stand the dudes voice though.

SeaAnemone
October 15th 2009



18818 Comments


It's different, I shoulda mentioned it cause it's a legit turnoff, but for me it was one of the major advantages of this.

bungy
October 25th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album is incredible! Thank you for the great review and exposing this album. This could be a 5 soon

SeaAnemone
October 25th 2009



18818 Comments


More listeners please!

Mendigo
October 27th 2009



2299 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice album, don't get the almost classic rating but I really like this guy, the debut was also good, although kinda sloppy.

bungy
November 11th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

stayin a 4.5

SeaAnemone
November 11th 2009



18818 Comments


Yea, good call bungy, wish this got more attention. It's gonna be on my top 10 of '09

bungy
November 11th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mine too i imagine supposing i make one

SeaAnemone
November 17th 2009



18818 Comments


the first two tracks are probably the best off this, I conclude.

EVedder27
November 19th 2009



6088 Comments


alright, the review convinced me. Will get it.

natey
November 19th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I loved Buriedefied or whatever it was called on his first record but that was it. I'm getting this hoping that it doesn't taper off as instantly as his last one

SeaAnemone
November 19th 2009



18818 Comments


I haven't heard his other, but I can guarantee you both this is definitely worth a listen.

natey
November 19th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh baby "Hard Row" rules

natey
November 19th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...my copy also has a "track 13" which rules...

bungy
November 19th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Me too

Where's my goddamn smiley face?

SeaAnemone
November 19th 2009



18818 Comments


I don't have a hard copy : (

Kiran
Emeritus
November 19th 2009



5992 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

getting this now because natey gave it a 4.5

SeaAnemone
November 19th 2009



18818 Comments


oh I see how it is.



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