From herds of goats to a cormorant diving for fish, Leo Robinson’s debut album The Temple is firmly ensconced within the natural world he so meticulously details. Whether literally unveiling himself as a “ten tonne heron” on the sprightly ‘The Cormorant’, the strongest suggestion here of a significant Nick Drake influence, to the chopped wood and mountain visualised in ‘The Wintering’, Robinson’s use of such symbolism is vivid. His deep baritone and baroque/folk style, nodding towards the esotericism of Richard Dawson as well as some of the needling guitar work of Drake, is key to the richness of his music, which, at its best, feels old, wise, and a little bit wild.
It is perhaps in-keeping with such sentiments then that The Temple is, in essence, an album about growth. While the first half is concerned with notions of deep concern (‘Pavement’) and developing instability (‘The Wintering’), its last few tracks tell tales of awe and, finally, acceptance. On the closer, ‘The Spring’, Robinson celebrates his role as part of a functioning network, told, as always, via the natural symbolism he often adopts so well. “I’m not a god, I’m a bug in the sand / On the riverbank, I’m a nettle in the dust,” he croons. As with the seasons, The Temple is inconsistent and unpredictable. It is also frequently rather beautiful. Let’s wait and see what his summer holds.
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