Brooklyn’s emotive indie crooner, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson (MBAR) made quite the impression last summer with his self-titled debut album. With members of Grizzly Bear and TV On The Radio’s, Kyp Malone assisting in the creation, they’ve once again come through to lend their skills to his second studio album, “Summer of Fear.” Moving from Say Hey Records to Saddle Creek, “Summer of Fear”brings in both a bigger sound and label.
From the moment I heard MBAR’s self-titled debut album, I fell in love with it. It was something so different, fueled with bruised emotion and lyrics that painted a story just like the amazing Bob Dylan did. Now with “Summer of Fear,” I find myself once again enthralled by his heartfelt singer/song writing skills and pleasurable orchestrations of sound. Although his vocals are quite hard to make out at times, between his unique cantor and stylized crooning you’ll find yourself shouting out your own lyrics to his powerful anthems.
Fueled by a soundtrack culminated of years spent in eight-track studios, cypher-fueled jam sessions, and dicey club dates that often ended in fist fights and broken glass, MBAR has delivered a most personal album. With tales of love and loss, betrayal, regret, and the ugly picture bitterness can paint of us, “Summer of Fear” is the product of all the negative shit life can throw at us. Amidst the chronic frustration and rage behind the lyrics, the production of instrumentals embodies everything from striking horns, enchanting brass to melodic guitars—such a magnificent display of sound, pure enough to balance out the dark lyrics. I can only hope when MBAR tours in support of “Summer of Fear,” he takes the stage with a large band so we can all see those beautiful sounds come to life.
Pros: “Always an Anchor” commences with gentle guitar strumming and storytelling words that roll into a sudden break of emotion, suspenseful drums and the childlike sounds of a playful xylophone. I love how the energy and feeling of this song rises as it gets closer to its calm ending―a series of ascending “boings,” the kind you would hear when cartoon characters jump on an old mattress. It put a smile on my face.
For having some of the most painful lyrics, “Summer of Fear Pt. 2” is one of the most beautiful songs on the album. The orchestration goes from light to dark cascading on a variety of instruments set to put your mind in aural bliss. Absolutely fuckin’ amazing.
Cons: Are you chewing on tobacco, because I can barely make out your lyrics!