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Review: 'Cromwell, Rodney'
'Memory Box'   

-  Label: 'Happy Robots Records/Bandcamp'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '18.3.22.'

Our Rating:
Memory Box is the latest album from Rodney Cromwell, who is Adam Cresswell's alter-ego, he is best known as part of Arthur & Martha and his time in Saloon. This album was coproduced by Adam and Richard Bennett and mixed by Pete Maher.

The album opens with Intercom, that sounds in far better working condition that the one in my block that has been on the fritz recently, this has a vocoder style disembodied voice coming out of the Intercom telling us how to get higher, over the lush and rather lovely organic synths and a drum pattern that could have been taken from Telex.

The second single from the album Opus Three sounds like it's dancefloor ready to get us all going and then just as we all get going the chorus about a catastrophe comes in to confuse us, but this is a totally cool synth-pop song.

The album's title track and first single Memory Box has the sound of early 80's synth pop but without the dreadful drum sound, this is quite lush musically influenced by Kraftwerk and possibly Yello but with vocals that have a bit of a Neil Tennant inflection, as this slowly unfolds the lyrics have some delicious irony within them.

Fluctuations is the only song on the album over 5 minutes long and opens with a long fluctuating tone and drum pattern, as you might expect this song rises and falls and worms its way deep into your brain too.

Waiting Room has a drum pattern that almost sounds like a typewriter and slow laconic vocals that are Waiting for the wait to come to an end and to be able to leave that Waiting Room, a feeling familiar to most of us whether we are in a hospital, airport or train station waiting room, just wanting to be elsewhere.

Butterflies In The Filing Cabinet is a very gentle interlude before you pull a draw open and release them. Cloud Catalogue has a crystalline sound as you lay back staring up at the sky figuring out which clouds you can see. The chiming sounds and voice of angels backing vocals help make this feel very relaxed and music for a beautiful day accompanied by a sweet flute.

The Small Print is a typewriter and synth instrumental that explains as little as most Small Print obfuscates. The Department Of Public Tranquility is as tranquil as the title suggests, this is laid back synth pop to chill out and drink in the lyrics too as you realize your room isn't as dusty as the one being sung about, or is it.

Wristwatch Television sounds like it's an ode to Tomorrows World and the inventions they showed back in the 70's, only now we live in a world where you really can have a Wristwatch Television, no matter how awkward it would be to watch. The synth's wrap themselves around your ears but aren't pulled too tightly in, more like they are on an elasticated watchband rather than a leather strap.

Calculations is slow and moody as you figure out how and if you want to make the first move and what that move should be.

The album closes with the glacial sounds of The Winter Palace at a time when the idea may well be to go and storm the Winter Palace once more and remove the current Russian Dictator, but this is much more lush and lovely a love song, for the sort of lover that you'd build your own Winter Palace for, as a deserving tribute to the wonderment they inspire in you.

Find out more https://rodneycromwell.bandcamp.com/album/memory-box-2????https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/rodney-cromwell https://www.facebook.com/rodneycromwellartist

  author: simonovitch

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