ROBERT LANE – Ends And Starts (own label)

Ends And StartsRobert Lane is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Birmingham. He’s been paying his dues for a while, rubbing shoulders with some big names and now he has released his second album.

Ends And Starts is short, just seven tracks, and has the feeling of a Robert Lane sampler as he sets out his stall. The songs are all originals and mostly solo and acoustic. The album opens with a real bang with ‘My Love’s In Deep’ in which Robert puts together a full rock backing with the aid of producer Matthew Pinfield on drums, bass and keyboards. Here is a catchy tune married to clever words – once upon a time it would have been a hit single. It is a perfect feel-good song crystallised in four incidents at the beginning of a relationship. “Meeting you has been an unqualified success”, he sings looking forward to a happy future which we all hope will work out for him. If the rest of the album was like this it would be brilliant.

Next up is ‘It Feels Like 5000 Miles’, a song of separation. There is a mystery, however: why is the singer separated from his wife and daughter? We can only imagine but it’s not the same tale as the anti-hero of the slightly melodramatic ‘Teardrop Tattoo’. “How long has it been since I’ve been seen” he asks but instead of a measure of time the reply is the title line – a clever twist. Robert finger-picks acoustic guitar with an unobtrusive keyboard in the background and if the rest of the album was like this it would be brilliant.

‘Break My Heart Blues’ is just that – twelve bars and a shuffle beat, nothing complex here but, as always, Robert’s clever words raise the standard. The big band treatment returns for the tear-jerking ‘Alone Now’ with the lead acoustic guitar replaced by a sweet electric and the album rounds out with a simple acoustic instrumental.

If Ends And Starts was twice as long it would still be brilliant. Now, would somebody with the money and infrastructure get behind Robert and ensure that he’s not lost.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘It Feels Like 5000 Miles’:

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