sun 31/05/2020

CD: Mama Rosin - Black Robert | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mama Rosin - Black Robert

CD: Mama Rosin - Black Robert

A more restrained (relatively speaking) effort from the Swiss/Cajun rockers

What’s not to like about this Swiss trio with an unquenchable love of the most obscure American roots music? As well as having the ability to evoke the spirit of early Cajun and rock’n’roll recordings without resorting to staid academic imitation, they are also clearly influenced by the likes of The Clash and the Velvet Underground. This means they’re as focused on producing a satisfyingly physically-present contemporary noise as they are in stimulating a revival of the French migrant/African-American music of deepest Louisiana.

There’s a more relaxed, almost baggy looseness to some of their third album, Black Robert, which is rarely heard these days; producers often like musicians to tie their grooves to the masts of dehumanising click tracks, and record each guitar part 20 times so they can then collage together all the highlights. By contrast, Mama Rosin give the impression that each song is a first-take played while hanging out of the window of a freight train. The pleasure here is being able to hear every mis-shake of a tambourine, every spontaneous holler, and even every exuberantly flat vocal. And Robin Girod has obviously spent time fiddling with his amp in order to get that cheap growly guitar sound which gives the impression that the band’s equipment could give out on them at any moment.

The album opens, for reasons unknown, with a kind of tribal chant before settling into the gentle(ish) banjo-led “Mariniere”. After that we are in more familiar territory where the thundering, wheezing melodeon and guitar battle for centre stage, and occasionally a fiddle joins in just for the hell of it. Mama Rosin are one of the few bands who really do succeed in capturing their live spirit in their recordings. But don’t just take my word for it, go and see them. They’ll blow your socks off.

Watch the video to Mama Rosin’s “Le Pistolet

Share this article

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters