In his debut release as a solo artist, Robert Miller proves himself to be far more than just a charismatic band leader – a role we got to know him in via his work with Project Grand Slam – and while Summer of Love might not change the critical perception of his style overall, I don’t think his was a reputation that needed any boosting from the press. With slick numbers like “Aches and Pains,” “Heaven,” “You Can’t Tell the Truth” and “Bourbon Street” giving this record more than enough testosterone mixed with honest harmonization anyone could adore, Summer of Love makes a brilliant case for a poppier brand of fusion this fall.
PROJECT GRAND SLAM: www.projectgrandslam.com/
I really like Miller’s intriguing use of rhythm over rhyme for a deeper means of expression in “Bip Bop,” “Walking in the Corner” and “New Life (Annie’s Song),” and though there aren’t any instances of lyrics lacking in substance, it would be crazy to assume that a Robert Miller record wouldn’t come boasting some seriously sensuous beats. The power of the groove is exploited for everything it’s worth here, and if there are any direct similarities between Summer of Love and any of the PGS albums I’ve heard in the past, it’s the efficient construction of the material.
We get some surreally powerful punch out of the bass parts in “The Night Was a Mystery” and the devilishly decadent “Another One Like You,” and though the latter is more of a ballad than a jazzy jam, both make exceptional use of their bottom tones beside Miller’s artful serenading. There’s constant movement to be enjoyed in this LP, and even when things are pushing forth at a slower rate, we never feel as though Miller isn’t in control of the rhythm and, moreover, the trajectory of the melody.
“Now and Always,” “Heaven” and “Bourbon Street” each have the potential to be some amazing live jams once Miller is able to get back on the stage where he belongs (which, with some luck, should be sooner than later). He doesn’t give us a lot of over the top fireworks in any of the recordings in this tracklist almost intentionally, as though he’s determined to entice us into a concert setting at the next available opportunity. I’m curious to see some of these in person myself, and I think you’re going to understand why when you listen to Summer of Love uninterrupted.
Debut solo album by Robert Miller, leader/bassist/composer for Project Grand Slam
I had admittedly had some really high hopes for this album when I first heard about its impending debut this autumn, and I’m happy to say that all ten songs in Summer of Love collectively make a homerun for Robert Miller’s first time on the plate as a solo player. His music has already been making quite the splash in the underground over these last few years, but in this situation – removed from the Project Grand Slam moniker entirely – we’re getting to know him in a way that I definitely did not think we would anytime soon.