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Rich Robinson (Black Crowes): Flux *

Album Notes

Following The Ceaseless Sight by a mere two years, Flux does seem like a companion to that 2014 album, the first Rich Robinson released after the dissolution of the Black Crowes. Robinson released solo projects before, always capitalizing on the band's frequent hiatuses, but The Ceaseless Sight found him harnessing the Crowes' funky Southern mélange for his own purposes. Flux follows suit but Robinson seems relaxed here, a shift in sensibility that opens up the music, giving it swing and warmth. Robinson will still dabble in sunset folk-rock textures but usually the slower tunes are soulful with a gospel undercurrent, a sensibility that matches well with the thick blues and rock of the rest of Flux. Robinson gives these 13 songs a hefty yet expansive production -- it's a record that sounds meaty, yet never overwhelming -- and that grounds his trippier moments (the near-psychedelia of the closing "Sleepwalker," the twilight Bo Diddley rhythms of "Astral"), lends muscle to his sweeter sentiments, and is generally appealing in how it evokes rock tradition without being beholden to it. That's the key to Flux: on the surface, it doesn't seem to offer anything different than what Robinson has done in the past, either on his own or with the Crowes, but it feels fresh and alive, the work of a musician who stays vital by reconnecting with his roots. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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