Robin Trower: Coming Closer to the Day
Now well into his 70s, Robin Trower is working in relative anonymity at this stage of his career. To be sure, a thick cadre of diehard fans will turn out every time he tours (and he does so tirelessly), if only to catch a glimpse of the guy who helped transform Procol Harum into a guitar-heavy prog-blues outfit, eventually setting out on his own to lead a power trio that recorded such classic albums as Bridge of Sighs and For Earth Below . Of course, the upside to hanging in the shadows is you can do whatever you want, and Trower has made the most of that on his last few albums. Known for his tuned-down, fat-bodied Strat sound and bluesfueled solos, which, for decades, have drawn lauditory (and lazy) comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, Trower went deep into molten riff territory and the essence of groove on 2016’s Where Are You Going To and 2017’s sublime Time and Emotion , stripping down many of his songs to extended, psychedelic vamps. He also chose to take the vocal mic—a role he often left to his bassist (and he’s played with so many good ones, including the fiery Scottish frontmen Jack Bruce and James Dewar), but now seems like a move so natural it’s a wonder he didn’t try it back in his ‘70s heyday. All this folds into Coming Closer to the Day , which opens with “Diving Bell,” an ominous, slow-rolling funk number that ripples with end-of-life musings on fractured lights, abandoned streets and burned-out cars. “Tide of Confusion” steps up the tempo, but still mines a sumptuous blues-rock vein, as does the smoky “Lonesome Road,” a straight blues cut that gives Trower room to peel off a torrent of tastefully crafted licks. Jazzier inflections inspire the title track, with Trower’s wavy, watery guitar (again, akin to Hendrix’s famed UniVibe sound) driving the narrative, while “Someone of Great Renown” turns again to the mysterious. “You may not think you know me,” Trower sings, taking on the persona of a world-shaking entity that demands the answer: Maybe now we do.