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Robbie Rox & The Monster Horn Band

"Earl Owns The World"

Reviewed by: RIPZ, January 2004

Robbie Rox is a Canadian artist whose inspiration clearly comes from Frank Zappa. The lyrics, like Zappa’s, range from the poignant to the absurd, and the musical style closely resemble Zappa’s more commercial ventures, without lacking that certain insanity and adventure in the great mentor’s work. The recording production is glossy and high key, bright, bouncy and extremely clean and it makes for a lively listening experience. The musical performance is excellent all the way around, as the music drifts from lounge jazz to rock in the flutter of a hummingbird’s wing.

The musicians are tight and never miss a beat. When all that is said, how much can this music be called Progressive Rock? While some of the longer songs tend to be quite progressive, using continual changes of tempo, melody and song structure to keep us guessing, most of the music is an easy listen; almost like candy to the ears. However, many art rock bands which are also considered borderline prog rock, and certainly as enjoyable, were doing this same thing.

Besides Zappa, there was City Boy and a less jazzy version would be 10cc. These and other bands played so much with formula that the execution of the music was more progressive then the music itself. Thus, one could say Robbie Rox has something for the prog fans. I really could not point any song as weak, as the first four or five bounce between jazz, rock, lounge and other forms of the art rock camp. The music is generally too aggressive to be considered Adult Contemporary and the vocal style is so damn playful it’s impossible to describe.

For my prog rock tastes, only the last song gives me the meat and potatoes of what I like best in music, though I find every previous track whimsically enjoyable. To recommend this album to prog rock fans becomes an arduous task. It’s best stated that if you like Frank Zappa, you’re going to like this because it is extremely well done.