Robin Guthrie


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As long as Robin Guthrie is active, he's going to deal with one persistent issue. If he sounds like himself, he'll please a certain portion of his fans who want to be continually reminded of why they got into Cocteau Twins, while others will urge him to move on. It's the price he pays for shaping a specific sound that has been imitated by many. If he had started out sounding like a bunch of other bands, and continued to do something similar to that, album after album, he wouldn't catch nearly as much heat. Continental, his second solo album, is all-instrumental but not nearly as ambient as 2003's Imperial. Several tracks rise and crash with the help of programmed rhythms and leave enough room for the presence of vocals, while a couple others simply shift around and cascade. Unless you're a gear head and can tell exactly what was used to record this album, you might think it to be made of outtakes from recordings made in 1985 and 1986, when the Cocteaus released the Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay EPs, as well as the Victorialand album; the songs induce that peculiar mixture of isolation and ecstasy. In addition to fitting safely in the context of Guthrie's past work, the album also recalls the sandstorms of Scenic's Acquatica and the restful moments of Manual's Ascend, two albums that were undoubtedly informed in part by Guthrie's past. Depending on how much Robin Guthrie you want in your life, Continental is either redundant or another reason to love him. It's certainly a strong album.

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