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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cock Robin - s/t

Name: Cock Robin
Album: s/t
Year: 1985
Style: Jangle Pop, New Wave, Arena Rock
Similar Bands: Big Country, Bryan Adams, Rick Astley, Bongos, Bram Tchaikovsky, Pat Benatar
One Word Review: Overproduced, Pastel Pegged Jeans Rock.
Based Out Of: San Francisco, CA
Label: Columbia, CBS Inc
 Cock Robin - Cover & Lyrics
 Cock Robin - Back, Record, Liner Notes
 Cock Robin - Headshot, Label Promotion
Cock Robin - Label Promotion
Cock Robin (1985)
  1. Thought You Were On My Side 4:17
  2. When Your Heart is Weak 4:39
  3. Just When You're Having Fun 3:42
  4. The Promise You Made 3:54
  5. Because It Keeps On Working 4:40 /
  6. Born With Teeth 4:13
  7. Once We Might Have Known 5:10
  8. More Than Willing 4:29
  9. A Little Innocence 5:37
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0

Members & Other Bands:
Peter Kingsbury - Vox, Keys, Bass, Synth Programming (Brenda Lee, Smokey Robinson, Stephanie Mills, Tuner, 
Anna Lacazio - Vox, Keys, Cover (Corey Hart, Purple Mountain Matinee, Ra Sol, Harold Budd)
Louis Molino III - Drums, Percussion, Vox (Trevor Rabin, Yoso, Julian Lennon, Kenny Loggins, Kim Mitchell)
Clive Wright - Guitars, Keys (Harold Budd, Kim Carnes, Human Drama, Skull Valley, Spiral Ascension)
Palinho da Costa - Percussion (Baby'O, The Bridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Fuse One, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77)
Pat Mastalato - Percussion (BPM&M, Crimson Projekct, King Crimson, Ktu, Mastica, Mr. Mister, Naked Truth, Projekct Fout, Projekct Three, Projekct X, Stick Men, Tuner)
Arno Lucas - Percussion (Crackin', Steve Goodman, Rhythm Heritage, Ricky Lee Jones, Lauren Wood, Chris Montan, Robby Dupree, Leslee Smith, Randy Newman, LA Carnival)
Steve Hillage - Rhythm Guitar, Producer, Mixing, Recording (Uriel, Gong, Khan, System 7, The Orb, Clearlight)
Donald Lane - Art Direction
Kelly Ray - Cover
Dan Marnien - Engineer Assistant to mixing
Chris Desmond - Assistant Engineer recording
Jeff DeMorris - Assistant Engineer recording
Paul Wertheimer - Assistant Engineer recording
Jay Landers - Management
Doug Sax - Masteing
Ron Lewter- Mastering Asst
Val Garay - Mixing, Supervisor
John Aruba Arias - Additional Mixing
Richard Bosworth - Mixing Asst.
Gwen It's Sagona Rain - Clothes
Wendy Osmondson - Makeup
Dennis Keeley - Photography
Miquette Giraudy - Production Asst
Paul Fox - Programming Synth
Gabe Veltri - Recording

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of Cock Robin, but I picked this up for purely juvenile reasoning. It looks like a horrific, bland album that will blend new age music with jangely roots rock. And the year does not hold any hope for me, as '85 is a pretty smooth, overproduced era.

Album Review: Although they are from San Fran, they never reach critical acclaim here as they did across Europe. This, their first of a 6 album career (so far) has seen ups and downs, disbanding and reforming, with the now-standard reformation later in the career to trot out the successful stuff in reissuing and revisiting. The album was a sign for the times-production wise in 1985, and has not aged well at all.

“Thought You Were On My Side” was a huge single in Belgium, reaching #4. It begins with a twinkling synth, and a bass-guitar power combo, creating a roots arena rock sound. The female vocals begin with equal power. They share the stage in turn with male vocals, and they create a light rock feel. It has all the production of Billy Ocean and Rick Astley, with a “Living On A Prayer” chugging guitar mixed well down in the background.
“When Your Heart is Weak” was a single, and the only ne released in the US, reaching #35.It creeks up with a rising organ, and the sterile new wave melody begins. The male vocals waver and seem frail. The sound places them right at home in late 80’s overproduced rock. The vocals at times are like a less trembley Chris Isaak.
“Just When You're Having Fun” begins with tinny drums and a playful synth hook. The electric sound and personality-removed production give it an adult island-themed cruise feel, where the fun is forced and piped in through the vents. It sounds a little like later-period English Beat, but in a bad way. I can see the Hawaiian print baggy, shoulder padded dress, and pastel dress shirts with khakis cut right above the ankle for the guys. The song sounds like it should be a lot more fun than it is.
“The Promise You Made” was a huge single in Belgium, reaching #1. It has a gentle, driving bass line, and chugging guitar with jangley guitars ringing out over top. The male vocals begin above a mumbling whisper, and they grow as the song wakes up. The chorus combines the male and female vocals. After one run through the song picks up the tempo, and offers a second rendition of the melody with a more energetic beat.
“Because It Keeps On Working” enters with a bold organ and choir chant. That is quickly abandoned for a rushed synth hook, and a driving melody, which is almost fun. The fluttering male vocals take their turn amongst another strong male voice and the female vocals. Overall, the best comparison would be to Bram Tchaikovsky.

“Born With Teeth” keeps up the pace of the last song, with a rollicking fun synth melody. The female vocals have a Pat Benatar life force. The sprawling chorus fails to live up to the catchiness in the instrumental hook or the delivery that the verse builds up. But otherwise, it is a pretty passionate song, which makes up for the downfalls.
“Once We Might Have Known” starts out with a woman crooning that almost sounds like a harmonica. The music begins with a windswept feel. The chorus builds with a cast of multiple vocals, but the song drives to nowhere over its time. The breakdown matches up nervous vocals with too-smooth synth effects and other flourishes that don’t add to the bottom line of the song. The guitar solos sound pretty boring, especially, I imagine, live.
“More Than Willing” has a short show-tuney intro, and once the song begins, it is driven by a synth bass line. The song has a little R&B element to it, but the song is slow and calculated on the whole: very forgettable.
“A Little Innocence” features a muted bass line to introduce itself. Crashing synth  notes accent the non-existent melody. The male vocals are back to the wavering croon, and they are soon joined by the female lead, matching the shy energy. The song wanders on and on, employing gusty top-of-the mountain guitar solos, and an echoing open-air drum sound. 

Stand Out Track: Born With Teeth

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