Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Marc Robillard “Left London”

You’ve probably forgotten all about those biodegradable Sunchips bags (ironically recalled because they made too much noise pollution), but you may remember that sweetly mellow jingle used in the commercial. That was from the song “So Much More” by Canadian born, LA-based singer/songwriter Marc Robillard. He will soon release his first full length record, “Left London”, which follows on the heels of his critically acclaimed 2005 EP entitled “Paper Airplanes” (see our review).

As you can surmise from the title, Marc Robillard drew much of the inspiration for his debut from the time he spent living in London. Robillard teamed up with renowned producers Andrew Bojanic and Liz Hooper of The Wizardz of Oz to record “Left London”, with the intention of coating the songs in a pop sheen to achieve a grander sound. The ambition to become more accessible should not be feared by long time fans – Robillard stays true to his organic acoustic-based sound and still paints lively pictures with his heartfelt lyrics.

“Contagious” is the first single, aptly titled since Robillard is striving to create more infectious, hook-driven melodies in his songs. “Contagious” is my favorite cut, and is quickly followed by two more outstanding melodic tracks – “Love Song” and “Unfold”. From here on out, “Left London” stays consistently slow and dreary – while this may please fans of his mellow side, many listeners are going to struggle to stay awake until the next upbeat track, which does not arrive until the distant “Bleed” (track 10). Among the plentiful slower songs, I enjoyed the powerful “Everstop” and aching “The Worst Day of My Life” the most. An updated version of the song made famous by that popular little jingle is also present at the end of the CD. The other tunes are just OK – solid songs, but too nondescript. I applaud Robillard’s move to put the emphasis on catchy hooks, but in some instances there is room for improvement.

I’d recommend Marc Robillard if you enjoy Jack Johnson, Rhett Miller, or Pete Yorn. “Left London” will be available March 29.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 13

Marc Robillard on MySpace. Official site.

Listen to “Contagious”