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Ian Roberts is an independent musician from London whose music and videos have been generating a tremendous amount of buzz over the past year—winning the award for Best Video at the St. Alban’s Film Festival and making Pause and Play’syear end “Ultimate Playlist”, which includes artists like Sia, Sam Smith, and Taylor Swift—especially for an unsigned and unrepresented-by-PR artist (I highly suspect that Roberts will not remain unsigned for long).
Roberts’ music is sweet, infectious, catchy folk pop that mixes driving acoustic guitar, sunshine melodies and a little bit of 50s rock with inspirational calls to action and delightfully optimistic love songs that just don’t allow you to be cynical or ironic.
His debut EP, “Come Outside and Play” was released in early 2014 and was recorded in David Gray’s studio with acclaimed up-and-coming producer Tristan Ivemy behind the boards, who helped to create a seamless, polished, yet still warm record that just gets better with every listen.
The four tracks on the album show an artist who has a thoroughly contemporary sound, but who is anything but a flavor-of-the month who follows the trends.
“Wake Up”, the EP opener, is a rousing ode to unity that makes lyrics like “If we could just pull together, maybe we’d live forever/bathing on this breeze of peace and love” really mean something, rather than just being easy platitudes. Robert’s strong tenor has the right amount of grit in the sweetness to give his bright lyrics the power to transcend cliché.
“Come Outside And Play” matches a melody that feels straight out of the early 70s—in the best way—with some excellent conscious lyrics: “Coz we’ve been lied to man/And their circles full of pain/It’s time to step outside/‘coz we cannot play, we will not play their game”. Roberts has an uncommon ability to embed his ideals in deceptively straightforward melodies, so his pop music is both subversive and accessible at the same time.
The third track, “The Boy From Your Dreams”, shows that Roberts can do a bit of doo-wop in a song that would be at home at a sock hop—proving that Roberts can work in a number of different styles.
The absolute highlight of the EP, and the song that has justifiably created the most notice for Roberts is “Sweetlove Butterfly”.
“Sweetlove Butterfly” is one of those rare tracks that you know at first listen should be a million-seller.
Not because the song follows what everyone else is doing, but because it has a stunningly gorgeous melody that is instantly indelible.
That melody, combined with its lovely Beach Boys-inspired harmonies and the perfectly mellifluous title words, will have you singing along in an instant.
Ian Roberts would deserve great success even if “Sweetlove Butterfly” were his only song, but the three other tracks on his EP demonstrate a songwriter who has the mettle and sufficient command of his muse to be in for the long haul.
Listening to Ian’s music, it’s brilliantly tuneful, smart, and warm enough to make even a brutal winter seem far away.