Sir Rosevelt

Sir Rosevelt

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Sir Rosevelt Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

During the recording of Zac Brown Band's genre-hopping Jekyll + Hyde, the band's leader grew increasingly intrigued by the prospect of recording a full-blast dance-pop album. Realizing that ZBB may not be the best vehicle for EDM-inspired sounds, Brown decided to form the side project Sir Rosevelt with Jekyll + Hyde producer/collaborator Niko Moon and Ben Simonetti, who did a lot of drum programming on the record. Sir Rosevelt didn't get off the ground quickly -- the trio was announced in September 2016 but its progression was slowed by a new ZBB album in May 2017 -- a prospect that might hurt a project as conscious of contemporary fashion as this, but Sir Rosevelt is so caught up with itself that it doesn't seem to belong to its moment. Brown largely abandons the casual charm that is his signature, choosing instead to favor hyperactive hooks and manic melodies; it's music designed for an endless night at the club. That does mean the group makes space for the occasional chillout -- "Slow Motion" comes toward the end of the record, and with its Spanish guitar flourishes, it may be the only number that could be ported over to ZBB -- and they somehow manage an homage to Imagine Dragons ("Hurricane"), but the heart of this record lies in the nonsensical EDM of "Robert Baker," a flurry of beats, drops, and chants. Far from sounding as if they have their fingers on the pulse, Sir Rosevelt seem like drunken businessmen stumbling through a Miami club on the corporate credit card: it's a party that is only fun for them.

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