Robert Wegmann has a unique expertise with pop tunes, creating catchy melodies reminiscent of the Beatles and XTC...with a touch of King Crimson. Consequently, his audience transcends class and temperament, appealing to anyone who enjoys a dose of delightful pop music.
ROBERT WEGMANN: Keeper of the Bees (CD on Fumiko Records)
This release from 2010 offers 46 minutes of delightful pop music.
Wegmann plays bass, Chapman stick, guitars, trumpet, and vocals. He is joined on tracks by: Tim Mullally (on lead guitars and vocals), Mark Prator (on drums), Nina Slyusar (on accordion and backing vocals), Bert Prestidge (on drums), Bruce Nocida (on guitar), Paul Foisy (on bass), Ed Woltil (on acoustic bass), and Jim Morris and Brian Rivers (on backing vocals). One track is written Andy Partridge (from XTC).
Guitars and Chapman stick dominate the instrumentality with snarling riffs that possess a glistening charm. Those riffs are superbly balanced between conventional pop material and searing art rock sensibilities, resulting in a strange fusion of the accessible and the cerebral.
The percussion is crisp and provides suitable propulsion: studious at times, hyper when more agitation is required. Complexity is inherent, but the beats tend to remain restrained so as not to overly intrude on the music's delicate flow.
Basslines rumble within the mix, expressing thunderous foundations for the songs.
The vocals are accessibly sinuous and quite attractive. Each syllable conveys a bouncy sentiment that carries a resonant appeal.
The presence of accordion lends a few tracks a homey pep that only accents their upbeat joviality.
These compositions are delightful pop tunes. They are concerned with the mysteries of life, and while no answers are proffered, the sentiments are nevertheless optimistic in their continued mystification. Like life, the real pleasure found in this music is in the experience. The tunes are upbeat and amiably frivolous, escapist ditties that leave their catchy melodies indelibly etched in the listener's mind.
The album comes with an amusing comic book (by Rosie Scally) that offers the tale of a space age musician traveling to alien worlds to purvey his tuneage, until he falls under the spell of a troupe of robot dancers and must pit his wiles against the Keeper of the Bees.
Reviews of other Wegmann releases can be found here.
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