Aldous RH, aka Al Robinson, has just dropped his debut album ‘Respect 4 Devotion’ via Moshi Moshi. Packed with irresistible R&B-influenced, 70s-style grooves, it mostly concerns itself with love, lust and romance. Here, Al talks us through the release in its entirety, track by track.
Far n Distant Memory
This track functions as a prelude to the melodic and lyrical themes prevalent in the rest of the album, specifically the feeling you've been slighted and realising it's time to move along.
A hedonistic number, focused on the spontaneous and sincere nature of lust. Musically a homage to Stevie Wonder's 'all day sucker'.
Thematically this track concerns the search for a true love/soul mate, the chorus although uplifting musically is dramatically ironic in its self pitying content. The music itself is a salute to the work Timbaland, Aaliyah, Destiny's Child, 702 and Missy Elliot did in the early 2000s.
In this song, I lament a situation in which I felt a romantic connection with somebody only to never see them again, deliberating whether to call them or text them. In layman's terms, this is also known as the modern phenomenon being 'Ghosted'.
Respect 4 Devotion
The title track of the album, musically a good representation of the production and songwriting style heard throughout. The mantra itself holds several meanings for me, most obviously paying respect to the devotion it takes or has taken to create this album / to love somebody/something unconditionally. It also represents an exchange - in relationships, you have to give respect to earn devotion, that lesson, in particular, an epiphany for me. A great track to close the first side of the record with John Kirby's expressive piano & the choral outro.
The Endless Search (fka you're nobody)
This song opens as an introspective depressed winter evening, shifting to a more optimistic outlook and concluding triumphantly to shed your anxieties and relish some spontaneity. Some may have noticed the outro in reverence of William de Vaughn's "Be thankful for what you've got".
In this track, I explore the nature of a dying romance, and the uneasiness that comes with knowing whether to stay or leave the fatigued situation. Being in your mid-20s with still so much ahead although feeling predominantly jaded about the future for you and your lover. With the beat and Rhodes piano, I strived for a feel reminiscent of D'angelo or Prince's catalogue.
Playa 4 Life
A Roy Ayers inspired number that I originally imagined being sung by a female vocalist; it urges the subject to take heed and be wary of duplicitous and dishonest men; that only seek to hurt and mislead you. Although in the end, I sang this one myself I think the message rings true for all genders and sexualities; anybody is capable of manipulation.
Better 2 Have Loved
This deals with the age-old trope 'don't cry because its over, be happy it ever happened at all', and trying to shift your perception of a grievance to something more optimistic and ultimately some self-improvement. Featuring some amazing drumming from Stella Mozgawa, an incredible Rhodes piano solo from John Kirby and some sleek guitar from Alex Brettin. The musical outro/reprise is a transfiguration of the title track.
Aldous RH's debut album 'Respect 4 Devotion' is out now.