dinsdag 23 augustus 2016

Robbing Millions. Robbing Millions

Not so long ago I wrote a review for this blog on a band called Captain Cheese-Beard. This band from Belgium produced the perfect Frank Zappa pastiche with full originals. Robbing Millions as such has nothing to do with Frank Zappa nor Captain Cheese-Beard, as far as I'm aware, but somehow the atmosphere of the two albums are connected. Something in the water in Belgium perhaps?

Where the two meet is in the experimentation in sound. With a lot of imagination it may be possible to imagine that Zappa would have made this sort of music had he been a young and aspiring musician in 2010. The twist and turns in his music are certainly apparent here.

Robbing Millions is connected to the Brooklyn band scene of the first part of the 10s. This is expressed most by the fact that producer Nicolas Vernhes (Dirty Projectors, Deerhunter, Animal Collective) was found willing to work with the band from Brussels. Together Lucien Fraipont (guitar/voice/compositions), Gaspard Ryelandt (voice/artwork), Daniel Bleikolm (keys), Raphael Desmarets (bass) and Jakob Warmenbol (drums) create a dreamy landscape in which nothing is what it seems. Not one song takes the easy road, to quote two ladies from Sweden. The guitars find notes and rhythms that take me off the beaten path. Fraipont and Ryelandt's vocals are dreamy, floating and tending towards helium infused sounds. They're highish, floating through space and time not aiming to please.

Promo photo by Tina Herbots
Where the dreamy part is concerned Robbing Millions certainly brings The LVE to mind, but immediately takes a left turn towards experimentation. If the band strives for the perfect popsong it is able to conceal that ambition under a layer of estranging sounds and noises. 'What Makes Me Feel Old' may start out as a nice song, towards the end it is derailed in a serious way. Which makes it very interesting to listen to and undergo. An amount of submission is required though to be able to follow the twists and turns here.

By then the idea crept up into my head that Robbing Millions when all is stripped away is one of the bands that was influenced by Talking Heads. Where with that band every note seemed to have been played with a surgical and mathematical precision, Robbing Millions does above all not mind to play around its main themes in a looser fashion. The tradition of Belgian music that is around since dEUS is there as is the Brooklyn scene around Vampire Weekend. Together a mix comes forward that attracts and pushes away. Where I personally am at, really, really comes with the mood I'm in.

When all was played and listened to repeatedly I still do not really know where I am at with Robbing Millions. So let me just end with the conclusion that this is an extremely intriguing album that offers loads of details to discover, but that most of all each listener has to come to his own conclusions. So, here you go dear reader....


You can listen here to '8 Is The Figure I Like The Most':


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