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Album Review: Shoes and Socks Off - Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have-Not

Shoes And Socks Off is uniquely DIY in every aspect, generally going about things in a completely different way. Something which gives you the feeling you’re involved in something fresh when listening to Tobias Hayes. ‘Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have-Not’ is his fourth release and sticks closely to its DIY roots, its intimate (in a way that it sounds like he’s playing in his bedroom), intriguing and positively unrefined.

‘Spit/Shake’ gets it off to a delicate start. The way Tobias delivers his music feels more like he’s telling you a story, you’re instantly captured by the narrative within the lyrics and this is what makes this album so interesting. ‘Smithereens’ continues in the same vein, while ‘Physiological Tinnitus’ breaks away from the tentative delivery and the subtle guitar strums that begin the album. Tobias lets his voice loose, which at times is on the edge of strain, but this does far from falter the track at all and adds a certain sense of honesty along with ‘I Hope You Know What You’re Doing’.

‘CYF’ picks the energy up for one of the strongest tracks on the record, with some great melodies and delightful acoustic licks, while ‘Sit Down, Shut Up’ sees the album continue to build the tempo as the record expands and shifts.

‘Here’s My Head On A Plate’ has an air of Thom Yorke about it, but what this album does so well is continuously build, as though at any time ready to reach a crescendo. Which appears midway through this track, an electric guitar joins with bass and drums which play the track out. This is perfectly crafted as to not deter, but add to the feeling of rawness that is heard throughout the 10 tracks.

This brings a whole new dynamic to the album, giving the second half a feeling that you are listening to something completely different. ‘A Massive Excavation’ begins again with a full band; the electric guitar makes the track feel so dense and brings a really gloomy tone. ‘Throwing Opinions At Walls’ however is cleaner and makes use of a violin which again just expands the album further, propelling it to another level, giving a feeling that everything has gelled together. ‘No Fighting In C101’ culminates an album that has done nothing but swell and sway, with each wave expanding further the instruments and breadth of song writing.

Many things are genuinely hard to pigeonhole and quite frankly this is impossible, it starts with a whisper and ends with a shout, constantly evolving and turning into something you weren’t quite ready for but what you want to listen to again, instantly.


'Robin Hood Waiter Champion Have-Not' by Shoes and Socks Off is released on August 9th on Big Scary Monsters Recordings.

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Connor O’Brien

Alter The Press!