Review: Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band

Review: Tim Robbins and the Rogues Gallery Band: Aidin Vaziri | Recording this CD shortly after splitting with Susan Sarandon and watching a major film project collapse, Tim Robbins has been accused of making a mid-life crisis album – mainly by himself. But the self-titled debut by the 52-year-old Oscar-winning actor-director and his Rogues Gallery Band is never quite that focused. Produced by Hal Willner and recorded over two days in a London studio with a crack team of musicians that includes keyboardist Roger Eno and multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John, it traipses through blues, folk and rock with an occasional sea shanty thrown in. Robbins’ voice evokes mid-period Dylan, but his songs, written and stockpiled over the decades, are all over the place. “Time to Kill” is an unpolished dirge about a soldier who accidentally kills children; “You’re My Dare” sounds like an ambling Celtic ballad; and “Lightning Calls” is a rhythm-heavy 3 a.m. meditation on Nelson Mandela. The album has its flaws, but Robbins never sounds less than convincing. Maybe it has to do with his pedigree (his parents were the celebrated folksingers Gil and Mary Robbins) or the genuine heartache leading up to the project. Whatever it is, it should save him from the bargain-bin fate of fellow musical thespians such as Billy Bob Thornton and Kevin Bacon.

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