The Australian bassist Robert Cooper released a self-titled CD on the Shhh label in 2000, following several singles on an imprint known as Library. The sense of hush, of peace and quiet, that is suggested by these no doubt at least philosophically related firms may at first seem to have very little to do with the career of a rock electric bassist who cranked his instrument up very loud indeed in the context of indie Melbourne bands such as the Sugargliders, Pencil Tin, the Steinbecks, and the Earthmen.
Naturally, some of these bands emerged out of the ashes of each other, future and former bandleaders alike licking themselves clean and then glancing around to see if there was still a bassist in the house. The Steinbecks, who have nothing to do with high-school English assignments and received great praise for the 1996 release At Home and Abroad With the Steinbecks, ascended from the Sugargliders only two years prior. Brothers Josh and Joel Meadows sparked both bands and can be said to be some of Cooper's greatest influences, musically driven siblings who had been playing gigs and recording since they were teenagers. Prior to his frolicking in the Meadows, Cooper was bassist with the Earthmen, likewise a teen band formed by the unlikely combination of guitarist and trumpeter Adam Dennis and drummer Bianca Lew.
Cooper's own knack for production was present early on when he brought together the Meadows brothers, at that point frustrated with attempts to cut tracks on cheesy recording equipment, with a more posh recording situation that the Earthmen had dug in the past, the studio Metropolis. On his own, Cooper proved capable of capturing a much wider range of musical moods than the average teenage rock band, including enough of this vibe to invite comparisons with producers such as Mickie Most. One of Cooper's tricks is to recycle material from some of his past rock affiliations into much quieter genres, such as a Burt Bacharach-style piano solo -- almost as if he was trying to get a gig in a library.