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Rob Alexander Releases Stunning New Album

Superficial listeners will hear Rob Alexander’s work as America’s version of Elton John. Listen deeper, however, and you’ll soon realize that, despite Elton’s influence, the Englishman’s songwriting is nothing more than a reference point for Alexander’s individualistic creativity. He’s much more than an imitator. Young Man’s Eyes, his stunning new album, is a thirteen-cut opus that stands out as the Florida singer’s most fully realized release yet. He checks off all the boxes you expect and even takes his music into unexpected territory for those who’ve followed him since his debut. Alexander is definitely feeling his oats and several of the songs crackle with a fiery level of confidence we haven’t heard before.

That new level of self-assurance comes leaping out. “The Soul or the Skin” is a decisive pop-rock masterpiece in miniature. The drumming performances scattered over the entirety of Young Man’s Eyes stand out for one consistent quality above others. They possess a damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead consistency that never wavers. Alexander’s production for the release captures a drum sound with ample snap. “The Soul or the Skin” is arguably the best illustration of this in action and makes for a powerful opener.

“Freakshow” is a virtual 180-degree turn from the first track. Alexander toughens his musical slant with a guitar-dominated track heavy on riffs yet still grounded in melody. He proves himself to be a capable vocalist for this sort of material as well. “Sometimes We All Fall Apart” plays to Alexander’s long-established songwriting strengths, balladry, without ever becoming a casualty of cliché. He’s able to evoke empathy with such songs without ever sounding too saccharine, no small feat, and the union of keyboard color with a plaintive piano melody proves to be an effective tandem.

“Your Shelter” is an even more cinematically inclined ballad. It begins in a stark, stripped-back fashion and gradually accumulates a sense of grandeur that never sounds forced or heavy-handed. The track, as well, boasts some of Young Man’s Eyes’ best lyrics. “Get Over Yourself” has a near-relentless keyboard attack. The uptempo clip he takes on for this song doesn’t prove to be a challenge for Alexander and his duet partner Gigi Worth, however, and each vocalist provides a different spin for this performance. It’s the album’s most recent single and it isn’t hard to hear why.

The steady piano march and accompanying strings of “Young Man’s Eyes” emphasize its elegiac tilt without ever leaning too much on melodrama. It’s a big statement song and Alexander’s vocal treats it as such. His talent for dramatizing material such as this helps make it one of the album’s key tracks. “The Kids Don’t Play Anymore” features one of the album’s most varied arrangements and it’s impressive hearing Alexander incorporate such a rich musical world into a comparatively small frame. His powers of condensation are one of the most valuable assets he has as a songwriter and performer. There is a bounty of rewards available for anyone listening to Young Man’s Eyes and it’s no stretch regarding it as Rob Alexander’s best release yet. 

Mindy McCall



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