There’s a sense of adventure on Robert Millers’ new album Miller Rocks that feels like when you discover a record in your parent’s house that sounds like something familiar but also feels unlike anything else out there. Miller who’s been a hard-working musician and songwriter for a number of years now, working and assembling band members from all over the world and has even netted himself a number 1 on the Billboard charts. He cites his cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire” as a major turning point for his work considering it has now become their staple of a closing act in live shows, but it helped influence his current musical aesthetic, combining jazz, rock, and even influences of British invasion rock.
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All of those things are present on this album, especially the greater emphasis on Jazz and Brit rock. It’s not quite the Clash but sits someplace comfortable between later day Beatle tunes like in the track “To The Zoo” which definitely feels like a missing Sargent Pepper b-side and I mean that in the best way, and the record also has influenced the piano and organ inspired work of something like the Doors or the Kinks. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot of spinning plates that Miller has going on and in lesser hands, it could have been a hodgepodge of influences that never quite click, but the whole album from start to finish compliments itself deeply. One of the best things about the runtime of the album is that it knows when to stay when to leave early when to zig, and definitely when to zag. Both having minimalist lyrical pieces and maximalist bombastic and layered instrumentals of the jazz-rock variety, there’s genuinely something I think any person from a seasoned music listener to a novice can find and truly love about the album.
I get the impression that some people genuinely might find the record a little too niche for them as Miller is really intent on recreating things that he loves (it makes a lot of sense when you find out he’s opened for acts like the band YES) but is never a slave to source material that influenced him. It’s a mood piece that covers nearly every feeling in the spectrum and all with the proper level of sensitivity and thoughtfulness, but really the album is a showcase for Millers producing abilities and how as a solo venture despite assembling some fantastic collaborators to work alongside him as he mainly acts on vocals and bass and the vision Miller has is the appropriate level of groovy ambitiousness you don’t see very often now. It’s focused mostly on giving an entertaining experience and it never feels hollow or empty even when he’s singing an admittedly somewhat goofy song about the zoo, but when he sings about feeling love and loss, especially on the track “To Heal My Heart”, you feel for the guy in the same way you’re able to plug your own emotional baggage into the album as well. Always thoughtful, never boring, unpredictable as all hell, Miller Rocks, well rocks.