Robb Johnson's Official Web Site

Eurotopia - Background and Introduction

 

 

Europe has dominated the discourse of UK political life over the last four years. The songs on these two albums, written in Europe between January 2015 & July 2019, located between places like Porlock, Paris, Prague, Lemnos, St Pauli & Stalingrad, therefore provide an alternative perspective to those years of domestic flag-waving hysteria.

The 18 songs are sometimes angry, sometimes affectionate, sometimes witty reflections on Robb's recent experience of the diverse realities of Europe. They are peopled by workers, tourists, migrants, Edelweiss pirates and terminal romantics; in Eurotopia love songs, both tender & cheery, rub shoulders with hidden histories and contemporary tragic ballads, in settings ranging from folk and post-punk rock to chanson and jazz.

The vinyl version consists of nine songs, where Robb's voice and guitar are accompanied by the breathtaking vocals of singer Fae Simon. The thirteen songs on the CD version are recorded with the band The Irregulars, who on this recording consist of Robb's long-standing rhythm section John Forrester (bass) and Arvin Johnson (drums and percussion), augmented by occasional Irregulars Jenny Carr (piano), Linz Maesterosa (clarinet, flute and saxophone), Louise Michelle Shearer (tuba),  Elona Hoover (cello), Bethan Prosser (violin), and Fae Simon (vocals). Whether it's the direct pared-down performances of the vinyl version or the collective magic created by the musicians on the CD, these are surely some of the finest, most assured recordings Robb has produced to date. 

Only four songs appear on both albums (including Robb's most direct reference to Brexit "My Last Night in Montmartre", and the epic "Welcome to the Museum"), but in suitably different versions. And if you were to wonder why Robb is releasing two different albums with the same name in different formats he would probably reply "because with Irregular Records we do whatever we like, and at Irregular Records we like art that doesn't merely aspire to conformity".

Tracklist IRR112V (LP)

The Carnival Song
Welcome to the Museum
My Last Night in Montmartre
The Centre of Everything
The Kreuzberg Sisters
Thursday Evening St Denis
The Ballad of the North Wind
Tuesday Night Community Bingo
Figs & Roses

Tracklist IRR113 (CD)

The Carnival Song
Once Upon a Time on the Road to Eurotopia
Charing Cross Station & Hungerford Bridge
Coincidents on the Circle Line
If the Night Runs Out Before the Money Runs Out
Tram Number 22
The Edeleweiss Pirates
The Kreuzberg Sisters
My Last Night in Montmartre
Stalingrad
Welcome to the Museum
The Work is Never Done
Old Magicians

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