The Australian music scene amongst young adults seems to push towards finding the next new, upcoming star before they become big, worldwide sensations. The force of the “indie” genre encourages so many young people to try to find unknown artists and follow their growth, turning their backs to the popular tones of Adele or Bruno Mars. Look at the likes of the triple j Hottest 100 Countdown, or even triple j Unearthed: young people love finding new upcoming artists before they take over the country and the world as pop artists. They rejoice when their local pub act grows and succeeds, just to say “I knew them when they had less than 1000 likes on Facebook!”
I’d be lying if I told you I have not been guilty of this trend, but there is one upcoming artist I’ve discovered in the last month or so that deserves recognition, not for the sakes of bragging or “supporting the little guy”, but rather because his music is stellar and I genuinely believe he can and should be taking the world by storm. Going by the stage name of Mcrobin, James McGuffie is an incredible singer songwriter from Melbourne and has just delivered his new EP Shallow Diver that I strongly encourage you to check out!
McRobin released single Concrete Feet earlier this year, which is a fantastic playful number. From the cheeky descending guitar motif, through to the ever-evolving guitar feature to conclude the track, the tune is brilliant. But in particular, I find it hard to look past McRobin’s evocative and unique lyricism in all his tracks. He has a fantastic ability to tell such interesting tales in the most natural of melodies.
Shallow Diver opens the EP, and has a much gentler feel. The cascading melodic lines are tender and sensitive, and the guitar figures produce an ethereal and quasi-hallucinogenic feel, as the piece slowly fades to a peaceful conclusion. Once again, the lyricism is beautiful and the blend of his instrumentation allows McRobin to paint a picture of diving into still water.
Periphery opens with the unexpected sound of an acoustic piano. McRobin employs mediant harmony and parallel major and minor chords, creating a fantastic fusion sound that blends Radiohead’s brilliant harmonic colour with Leonard Cohen’s powerful ballad writing. The addition of sensitive synthesised pads just rounds the piece into a terrifyingly beautiful ballad.
The EP segues into Fine Lie, and the return of McRobin’s gentle arpeggiated guitar lines. This track demonstrates how little needs to be added to the classic guitar/vocal singer-songwriter duet to make a stunning track, with only simple percussion and light guitar accompaniment until the bridge, where his fantastic falsetto and ambient synthesisers return to produce a fantastic conclusion.
The EP closes with Steal My Only, which is upbeat and rocky, returning to the style of single Concrete Feet. Steal My Only has a gorgeous surf rock feel with the reverbed guitar chords and driving drums. Falling into slower break downs with simple cascading piano lines and delicate bass guitar accompaniment, the track closes the album pulling on the listener’s emotions and drawing them into the warmth of sound that is McRobin.
So, if you love classic singer-songwriter styles or even folk rock, or just want to support some fantastic local Melbournian talent, check out the fantastic McRobin. His EP is released on 23rd November, and his EP launch on December 4th. Make sure to show him some social media love and let him know what a superb job he is doing!
Rating - 4.5/5
Jared loves to share his passion for music and artists through music reviews and commentaries. These include a selection of reviews written for community radio stations 3MBS and Radio Monash.