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“Miller Rocks” by Robert Miller

On Miller Rocks, the newest record from singer/songwriter Robert Miller, he’s inviting us to a good time, like catching up with a friend at a bar (remember that?) and seeing how well they’re doing. Miller has a certain kind of understated vocal presence that has this seemingly hazy quality that actually holds a lot of depth and layers behind it mainly because Miller knows exactly what capacity to work in.

His music is perfect for the type of people who want something light and moody, maybe something to play with the company and enjoy on a day by the pool or even a cookout, and like a good film, it fills you with the sense like you’re hanging out with the guy and not just situated behind your headphones or speaker. I certainly would love to see how Miller’s personality on this record also transforms with his stage persona because he seems like a captivating leader as evident by the fact that he did all the producing on this record, working with a fantastic list of collaborators who are all operating at the perfect capacity to let Miller’s vision unfold. The record has great pacing and starts and ends at high energy that never threatens to overbear the rest of the album and its more easy-going inclinations.

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It almost has the structure of a film with an easy narrative to follow of Miller as the lead, talking about how much he loves someone who might be giving him mixed signals or at the very least the idea she’s scared of committing to him and the good times on the track “Right Now”, something he furthers on a track like “My Baby” which sees him attempt to comfort her and there’s always this underlying theme of togetherness that honestly warms the heart to hear each time, and what makes it more devastating when Miller has to delve into topics like heartbreak like on the track “To Heal My Heart”. Things even take a fun aside to let the album have a little breathing room in between the more vocal-heavy tracks with what I’d consider the intermission track “African Nights (For Chick)” which is just an all-out bop of an instrumental with the band truly showing off their skills in such an undeniable measure that it almost ties the whole album together perfectly. Jumping back into the narrative, while you don’t entirely need to read it as an extension of the romantic lovers narrative, the track “You’re My Friend” which sees Miller expressing gratitude for someone in his life and the ups and downs, definitely feel like it feeds into this romantic arc of being with someone, even feeding into the ambiguity of if it can work out in a romantic sense or if it just needs to be platonic.

It might sound like I’m making this out to be some kind of dense concept album, but in reality, it’s a slice-of-life record that has a lot more going on under the hood than you might realize at first listen.

Mindy McCall

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