Review: Zen Robbi – Lovely In The Middle

Review: Zen Robbi – Lovely In The Middle

Zen Robbi – Lovely In The Middle: An Acoustic Collection
Track Listing:
1.) Lovely In The Middle
2.) Cornucopia
3.) Revolution Avenue (Mexicoma)
4.) Dance With Me
5.) Lover’s Cove
6.) Champagne
7.) Chingale
8.) Mustaches Are Good For Business
9.) St. Dangerously
10.) Bygones

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: January 3rd, 2011
Official Website: Zen Robbi Website

Group Background:
The musical trio otherwise known as Zen Robbi arose from the firestorm of a music scene in LA, California nearly eight years ago. The crew began to unearth their musical mode and their unique, ragged sound from the city’s ambiance, close friendships, and a plethora of astonishing shows over the years.

Now, Mic Dangerously, Scotty “Spoon” Wittenberg, and Timmy Too Tall are set to kick off the New Year with their fourth full-length album, Lovely In The Middle. Although Zen Robbi has always boasted a carefree vibe, Lovely In The Middle: An Acoustic Collection is a somewhat novel alteration for the band. The album will pivot around a heavy acoustic influence, flaunting not only the talents of the Zen Robbi Trio, but some of the most respective musicians in the Cali scene. Expect to hear Micah Brown and his guitar, Mike Pinto Band’s brass section, Bargain Music’s Josh Fischel, and Todd Forman, formerly of Sublime With Rome.

Album Review:
Zen Robbi’s newest album may read Acoustic in the title, but that sweeping statement is overly-simplistic as the musical trio broadened an acoustic album into a multi-genre tour de force. Zen Robbi’s fourth album opens 2012 up in a groovy laid-back manner, contrary to the chaos some might experience during the holiday season.

The hardest thing about listening to this album is identifying where the Zen Robbi trio could have possibly drawn their influences from. Not only will you hear the sweet skanks of reggae, but with Lovely In The Middle are also modern bluesy-rock progressions and the brassy sounds of Jazz music, not to mention the number of alcohol-influenced jams.

Sure all the guitar-work is strummed on at least one acoustic guitar, but in no way is Lovely In The Middle a one-dimensional album. Zen Robbi’s members are proactive in nearly every song, and a plethora of west-coast musicians lent their talents to the success of this album. My favorite song on the album is Champagne, in which solo artist Micah Brown detailed the song with a slide guitar AKA Dobro. The bluesy-rock song reminds me of classics from Bob Dylan and even latter Slightly Stoopid tunes. Mic Dangerously’s lyrics encompass the ideals of true friendship as he sings; “Some champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends”, putting a nice little twist on phraseology.

Lover’s Cove also progresses along over a faint drum progression, similar to those rhythms of classic blues music. As Mic Dangerously characterizes the topic of love with metaphors and a visit to Lover’s Cove for an all-natural dip. This is one song in which Mike Pinto Band’s horn section provides a brassy layer of musical support, adding another bluesy tang to the album.

In Bygones Mic Dangerously is accompanied by the flavorful voice of Joshua Fischel. The song is based around the famous quote Let Bygones be Bygone, meaning we should leave what happened in the past, in the past.

Overall, Zen Robbi’s Lovely In The Middle: An Acoustic Collection kicks of 2012 with a bang, immediately becoming one of my favorite contemporary acoustic albums. The trio used their local roots to develop an album flooded with talent, inside and out of the band’s technical boundaries. This album rocks due to the influx of diverse genres through an acoustic scope.

Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]