Paired against the reckless wiles of vintage hipster mimicry, Fullerton’s Roman Alexander and the Robbery seem tame at first listen. But beneath their R&B-tinged stabs at rock, reggae and blues lie a ferocious honesty and unpretentiousness that spill out of nearly every song on their self-titled debut. From the fabric of their tender, Ben Harper-esque aesthetic to their few-frills recording, the band make no attempts to hide behind engineering boards or hazy special effects. Alexander wails out the chorus to “I Love Music” with such earnest oomph you actually believe that these sentiments got them where they are today: constant gigs, a growing fan base and a sturdy record.
Following their front man through the thickness of urban soul on songs such as “Enmity” to the down-home, back-porch boot-stomping of “44,” the Robbery—a seasoned structure of bass, drums and guitar—have the ability to switch styles and speeds on a dime. Their slow material can sound somewhat repetitive, but at the heart of each song lies a distinct message, often obsessing on love and the life choices we make every day. Among the album’s standout tracks are the revolutionary reggae tones of “Don’t Need No” and the infectious, funky-hook working inside the chorus of “Running Away.”
Even if a few of their songs may not be exactly what you’re looking for (or may be a bit too subdued), Roman Alexander and the Robbery have at least a little something for everyone. Before long, you’ll start to appreciate their enthusiastic genre-hopping. After all, they wouldn’t want to rob anyone of a good time.
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