Getting noticed isn’t hard nowadays. In fact, if you’ve been sat at your computer for over half an hour and haven’t become an internet sensation already, then you’re probably doing something wrong. Anyone could put together an instrumental, some vocals, and be pipped as the next big thing. What is difficult, however, is making that hype last. Preferably long enough to leave a lasting impression longer than the time it takes for your mind to melt whilst watching video fails on YouTube. Therefore we have long-standing creatives like Frank Topper who this time round is joined by Nineteen year-old Dutch-American singer and producer Robin Cause who has a knack for soulful vocal hooks and a talent for a deep and acoustic-centric aesthetic.
As such, the track “Hard To Belong” is a customary mood setter for the minimal instrumentation and languid folk tropes that follow. This makes way for Robin to introduce his best asset: his vocal range.
This isn’t to say that “Hard To Belong” lacks any instrumental dexterity, far from it. Robin’s raw guitar playing credentials never lag too far behind his vocal strengths. However, he doesn’t force the issue quite so much, sticking to a simple string-picking accompaniment.
The song has its own sound and at no point does the music strive to go anywhere it doesn’t need to. It’s nice to hear a song where there are no instruments jostling for position, fighting to fit snugly into their place.
“Hard To Belong” has all the makings of any good indie- folk song. It is easily accessible and at its helm is a singer with enough talent and appeal about him to reach out to the listening public at large.
Despite having the kind of voice that would make you go weak at the knees, Robin Cause also has a strong left-field sensibility that appeals to those more discerning music aficionados out there. This record is intelligent, succinct in its ambitions, and more than anything, it’s pretty bloody cool.
And being intelligent and cool also comes from the lyric sheet with words carefully assembled by Frank Topper – someone who for all intents and purposes has been going with the flow of his critically acclaimed songwriting craft for a few years now.
There are no bad songs in his catalog, and most have something very interesting going on. It always feel like he’s fully emotionally engaged in his writings. And with that amount of narrative grit, his songs never veer towards coffee shop listening territory.
Topper is also fortunate in choosing befitting musicians and singers to collaborate with. Here both lyricist and performer share similarities in their style; fragile, truthful storytelling that draws you in emotionally along with the use of an uncomplicated musical background. It is a simplistic and intriguing track that leaves you desperate to discover the genres that Frank Topper or Robin Cause will be tapping into next.