SAM ROBERTS We Were Born In A Flame (Universal) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
The overriding feel of the Montreal songwriter's We Were Born In A Flame album (out Tuesday) is that he has too much time and material on his hands and no real direction. No question, there are some fantastic songs, including the opening and closing stunners and the Beatles-ish, bilingual No Sleep. Roberts's desire to recast himself mid-record as a kind of rock 'n' roll revivalist and then veer toward Spiritualized-style trance pop, plus the peculiar sequencing of the disc, means that We Were Born In A Flame never really develops a solid flow. What energy does exist is quickly beaten into submission by Brenndan McGuire's muddy, clumsy production. As with the Dears' No Cities Left disc, McGuire reduces Roberts's swagger to a murky whimper.