Robert Nix's new album Once In A Blue Moon feels like The Talking Heads' younger brother recorded an album. And, no, that's not just because "Once In A Lifetime" is kinda like "Once In A Blue Moon."
Well... Partly but not mainly.
The first track of the album, "Won't Go With The Flow," at certain parts sounds like a cacophony of overlapping music. I caught myself pressing pause to see if I had another window open because it just feels like it has a stereo track that's slightly off-center. Is it on purpose? Or is it because he's not as far along in his craft as someone more popular, similarly experimental, Talking Heads or Pink Floyd?
If Nix had added in the sounds of alarm clocks or a cash drawer opening like in Dark Side of The Moon, I wouldn't be surprised at all.
Another song, "Time To Make Up Your Mind," hits a discordant chorus line early. Dischord and weird layering is all over Nix's album. Plus, when he sings, it feels like he is reading us a diary entry because of his very. clear. concise. rhythmic. patter.
"Stop The Cruelty, You Mindless Human" is such an experience of a track. Nix sings -- no, berates -- the listener. As if a vegan who has had it up to here with meat eaters, Robert Nix goes from singing to a scream willy nilly throughout the track. You can imagine when he does so in these lyrics: "No, it's not about survival; you just like to kill," and "Even though they're all gone, they'll never show their faces AGAIN!" And I don't use the word scream lightly. He literally screams. I have never met a militant vegan or activist, but I feel like Robert Nix could give Peta's staunchest a run for their money. He is furious -- and his musical layering -- which again is a theme for the album -- is running amuck here. The wall of sound nearly pushes this track off the edge, despite it feeling like one of the songs closest to the artist.
When listening to several of the tracks, I definitely had flashbacks of listening to the OTEV songs from "Big Brother" or perhaps to Rockapella singing on "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" that give clues to solve a puzzle. #cannotbeunheard
All in all, Robert Nix sings like a person who is doing show and tell: very deliberately, very evenly paced, and elementary in nature. You feel the more you listen to Robert Nix like you're in a performance art piece. And what is that instrument that's in the background that's just a note held for a long time in "Time" from 0:55 to 1:07? Whatever it is, it's part of the show for Nix: a little weird but inventive.
Not something to play at parties -- unless your parties are tea parties attended by Marina Abramović, a stuffed bear, and a bag of flour.