It’s still a mystery to me why Robin Warren-Adamson aka Wise Children is not more widely acknowledged and acclaimed. His album The Woods, released at the turn of the year is a wonderful collection of songs, beautifully constructed, played and delivered.
Songs Left In the Wood is group of six tracks that didn’t quite make the album itself ( plus a welcome reworking of Artichoke from Absence) all given away free and streamable on Bandcamp (although you can of course pay whatever you like to show some support, and only the granite hearted wouldn’t consider some donation for six songs such as these).
There is a quality about Robin’s voice that is so quintessentially English, the careful annunciation, the fact that you can hear each and every word which, combined with the fact that his songs feel rooted in a folk song tradition but are contemporary, means that the whole seems uncannily familiar but fresh and light of touch.
The songs are so often about lost love, or love that is hard to hold onto, but the search for love always. Cold Feet starts with a lone piano line but soon moves on with added pitch perfect harmonies and just a little electronic fripperies and the underlying sound of a child’s musical box.
The Woods is perhaps the most obvious track that might have been on the original album, and it is a beautiful track, I can’t quite see how it missed the cut. Again run through with trademark careful harmonies plus piano and ‘strings’. Perhaps more on this track than others, Robin is for me redolent of Jim Moray somehow, both his vocal style, the storytelling and the mild electro-beats underlying the track.
Awake in the Corner continues the confident vocals and strong melodies and the theme of obsessive love, Biting on Stone the sense of unsatisfied searching and the final ‘new’ instrumental track An Interlude carries an almost Erik Satie-esque quality to the piano.
Finishing with an upbeat acoustic version of Artichoke, the set closes in just 19 minutes, but like all Wise Children output it leaves you wishing there were more to enjoy, and on a personal note the hope of hearing this is a live setting.